NHL Rumor Mill – April 21, 2017

by | Apr 21, 2017 | Rumors | 57 comments

Is it time to shake up the Chicago Blackhawks core?

The latest on the Chicago Blackhawks, Calgary Flames and Philadelphia Flyers in your NHL rumor mill. 

ESPN.COM: Despite the shock of the Chicago Blackhawks getting swept by the Nashville Predators in their opening-round series, Scott Burnside doesn’t expect any sweeping changes for the former Stanley Cup champions. He cites an NHL scout saying the Blackhawks still have a solid core in forwards Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane, defensemen Duncan Keith and Brent Seabrook and goaltender Corey Crawford.

An NHL GM tells Burnside it’s too early for the Blackhawks to rebuild. Still, Burnside wonders if the young players the Blackhawks are incorporating into their lineup (such as Ryan Hartman, Nick Schmaltz, Tanner Kero and even Artemi Panarin) will improve and if their core players can bounce back next season. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This isn’t a trade rumor but I daresay we’ll hear some speculation about shaking up the Blackhawks in the coming weeks. One should ever say never. After all, if Wayne Gretzky can be traded, anyone can, but I wouldn’t hold my breath awaiting a major offseason move involving one of the Blackhawks’ core players. Even if they wanted to break up their core, the expensive contracts of those core players and their no-movement/no-trade clauses makes it very difficult to trade any of them. 

CALGARY SUN: Eric Francis once again expressed his belief the Flames will go shopping for a new starting goaltender this summer. He doesn’t expect they’ll re-sign pending unrestricted free agent Brian Elliott, but does expect backup Chad Johnson will return. Francis also doesn’t expect pending UFA defenseman Dennis Wideman to be back, but he can see Deryk Engelland could be re-signed following the expansion draft. Veteran forward Matt Stajan could be exposed in the expansion draft. Restricted free agent winger Alex Chiasson is unlikely to return. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames have no choice but to find a reliable starting goaltender this summer. They could pursue free agents such as the LA Kings’ Ben Bishop or the Chicago Blackhawks’ Scott Darling. They could also go the trade route, with Pittsburgh Penguins netminder Marc-Andre Fleury as one option. 

PHILLY.COM: Mike Sielski believes Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall should consider all options this summer to rebuild his club, including a trade of popular power forward Wayne Simmonds. Sielski feels the contracts of Claude Giroux and Jake Voracek would be difficult to move, whereas Simmonds carries a more affordable annual cap hit of less than $4 million through 2018-19. He also believes Simmonds’ leadership, toughness and scoring touch would make him a valuable trade commodity. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sure, Hextall could trade Simmonds, but I don’t believe he will. Indeed, he’s already stated he has no interest in shaking up his core. 


  1. ANY team (including Calgary) could do worse than having Brian Elliott as a part of their goaltending. Although sometimes inconsistent, he always has extended dominant stretches and is a great teammate.

    • Elliott is a perfect back up à la Condon. He is not a bona-fide # 1 and if he and his agent intend to hold out signing until he gets that kind of deal then, great teammate or not, he’ll still be looking when training camps open in the fall.

      Let’s face it, the Flames lost 3 of the 4 games by 1 goal and the last one by 2 and, with a true # 1 in the nets might still be playing. Too many “soft” goals against did them in.

      • I agree George. Also part of being a starter is playing consistently over a significant # of games each season, year in & year out with a a few minor stretches of poor play. Elliot’s 49 games played this season are the most he’s played in 9 years & he’s never played more than 55. He isn’t nor will ever be a true #1 having not been able to carry the load by 32. At best he is a 1B option but better served as a mentor/safety net for a young goalie playing in or around 35 games a year.

  2. Simmonds?? If it ever became evident that Hextall was prepared to trade him he’d have 30 solid offers to sift through! It’s not going to happen, of course, but in the realm of über-fantasy I’d love to see him in Ottawa next season.

    • Hey George O.,

      Simmonds would be an excellent fit in Ottawa! They have lots of skill up front adding him would just up the talent pool and more than double the toughness. Would be a lot going back the other way though. I bet Philly would at least be targeting Stone the other way. I am a Leafs guy but certainly hope your Senators knock off the Bruins tonight! It’s great to see so many Canadian teams in the mix. I hope at least a couple make it through to the next round.

      • Simmonds would fit in any team and as George said everyteam would be calling.
        Also, yes, Lets go Sens! would be great to see a Canadian team make the dance

      • That statement is always lost on me. I’m Canadian and I cheer for the Canada. I don’t care how many Canadian teams are in the playoffs. Truth be told I want two eliminate in the first round Ottawa and Montreal. Being a Bruins fan you’ll understand the reasons why. When Boston is eliminated, then I cheer for who ever is playing Montreal. Yet I love the city.

      • Ha-ha! I can never cheer for Montreal.

    • Ekblad for Simmons, Gudas, and a 2nd?

      • Lol not even close to getting Ekblad out of Florida, Besides why pay a guy $7.5 million with numerous concussions to his resume already.

      • Flyers have a batch of young D ready to step in. The only piece that get Simmonds out of Philly is 2 scoring wingers

    • Jesus George twice in 1 day. Agreed again.

  3. I don’t see a whole lot changing on Chicago either; but let’s face it with the core being Toews, Kane, Seabrook, Keith, and Crawford who do you think would be the first to go?

    That question is rhetorical of course, but I will answer it anyway; Crawford. There are better goalies out there. Yes he has gotten it done in the past, but if Chicago wants to stay on top they may need to get in on the Bishop sweepstakes and make a bold move to signal to the rest of the league their intention to remain prominent in the years to come.

    And yes I get it Chicago didn’t exactly light the lamp in this series; but was that because of Nashville’s goalie? See my point?

    • Toews must really have a lot of hidden intangibles that we don’t see every day … but, does 1 goal in the playoffs and his most recent highest point total coming 6 years ago (58 pts each of the past 2 seasons) add up to a $10.5 mil cap hit??

      I know … I know … questioning one of the acknowledged “gods” of hockey is tantamount to sacrilege – but if I’m a coach/GM I want something more than “hidden intangible” for that kind of scratch!

      • George O, it’s not just “intangibles” unless you consider lining up against the other teams #1 center every night and outplaying them the majority of the time. Including against the best of the best and winning 3 cups.
        Keeping the puck out of your own net is just as important as putting it in theirs. He often wins those battles.
        To your point to your point regarding the $10.5M, ya, ouch. Kane isn’t worth that either. For me I keep Toews over Kane, I think Hossa comes off the books after next season.
        There is just no way Bowman could walk from either of those guys at the time they signed.

      • Hossa has 4 more years at a cap hit of $5.25M, but a salary of only $1M. Looks like a contract a lot of low budget teams (hello Arizona) would love to get.

      • To move Hossa Chicago would still have to provide some incentive & no matter what happens Chicago is on the hook should Hossa decide to retire before that contract expires.

        Hossa might not be as motivated to fulfill the remaining 4 years playing for a team like Arizona nor waive his NMC to accommodate such a move. The cap recapture penalties are significant.

      • George completely agree. Chicago awarded their players for pass success and not for future success. They got their money worth when Toews and Kane combined for $13m. This was poor managemen of the cap.

      • Kopitar is getting the same type of money for the same type of production. Paying for the past yes, but can either team really afford to lose either of those guys?

      • I think there were significant injuries to various hawks including Seabrook & Toews you didn’t hear about. And Anisimov’s knee was not healed or the dust was all over his game.
        You have to attribute it is what it is: Teams who have history of devastating losses against conference opponenets don’t forget; and the Nashville rookies from three runs ago that saw that game one 3-0 lead evaoprate to the hawks and the core, have super respect and KNEW they had to play at their best to usurp them. I am a Hawk fan, but never ever thing of the league as one full of juggernauts…there is more parity now than ever, and any team truly can win a series against another especially if there is reason/history behind it. Don’t think PK Subban diudn’t feel he had to play in a way that he jsutified his laousy and inure filled season either. The under-rated defenders Ekholm and former junior star Ryan Ellis are keystones with their big boys. And they happened to have four guys that COULD have been drafted in the 2012 entry draft, doing really well to up team speed with lightweight juniors that they developed. I wrote these profiles BEFORE the draft, and they state what the potential was THEN…well, it has become a translated reality to the big leagues now:

        So, it states the value of finding a Jake Guentzel

        and finding how that supplementary piece messes with your bigger boy core….

      • If Crosby is dinging the cap for 8.7 per I’m not paying any other player a dime more regardless of any & all circumstances in play for at least 5 more years.

        No NHL player, Kopitar, Kane, Toews etc. Are worth 10 mil per in this cap world.

    • Nashiville dominated Chicago all over the ice. Crawford wasn’t the reason they lost. 3 goals in 4 games is the reason. Yes credit goes to Rinnie but it also goes to the whole team. Toews -5 2pts both on the PP, Kane -4 2 pts again both on the PP. You could put Carey Price in nets and your not winning with 3 goals in 4 games. $21 million doesn’t get you much.

      • Couldn’t agree more. Nashville looked like a Cup – winning team against Chicago. They were strong in every department and Chicago was beaten by a much better team.

      • All of the Hawks core players have no move clauses. One guy they could move that is definitely overpaid is Marcus Kruger. At a little over 3 mill that’s too much for a depth defensive player.

    • Steven you are absolutely right about Crawford and that is why I shake my head every time somebody puts out a Scott Darling rumor. If Darling is so darn good I would think the Blackhawks would hang onto him.

      • Crawford is a great goalie, he is having a fabulous career & at 32 has many more great years ahead of him. I’m not saying Chicago won’t look to trade him at some point but he will be protected for expansion. Chicago has serious cap issues that need to be resolved moving forward. Their top heavy roster salary wise is making filling out a 23 man roster in this cap world very challenging. Something has to give again yet this summer.

        Darling will get far more money from someone else than he could get in Chicago as a UFA. Can he be a starter? I assume he will get a chance some where very soon.

      • That sums it up good Striker. To the main question of should or will Chicago release one of their core? Won’t happen because of the 4 games against Nashville and going up against a 976 save %. I do personally believe that they need to get some cap relief and to your point about being top heavy. If you can’t move Hossa, (I didn’t know he had another 4 years) how do you do it other than one of the core? Not sure I have the answer as there is no easy one other than keep on the path you are on until it is so obvious you can’t.

      • Thanks Dr. Pepper I usually get slammed on here! That’s my favorite pop too! I am a firm believer in teams moving on when players are no longer performing. Seems players have an awful lot of rights whether they perform or not. Crawford = 2 Cups!, which is great but they have squeezed him for all he is worth. And I also agree that if Chicago was so sold on Darling Crawford would have been gone long ago. Go after Bishop! Or even MAF! The Bishop saga will be the story of the summer.

      • Yeah, Darling is not ready for prime time and his left pad rebound contro;l sends the puck right past the cirlce to the opposition. He wanst to stay in Chicago and may sign a hometown deal (since he is from suburban Lemont) with the promise he is the heir apparent. I heard a few weeks back that The Notre dame goaler is very interested in signing with Chicago and that is why he is rebuking Buffalo Sabre’s offers, the team that selected him.
        So stay tuned…

      • Crawford for sure got almost zero help from his defense and back checking forwards and 3 goals in 4 games of support # Even Jesus wouldn’t win in goal..

  4. The area of focus for the Hawks has to be with their Defence; the weighted average age of their starting six is 32 years. They are very long in the tooth.

    • Well after Keith, Seabrooke & Hjalmarsson next season unless Campbell signs another cheap contract youth will be served on D in Chicago.

      Chicago has $2,737,372 in cap space next year at the current cap ceiling. They have bonus monies owed this year that will carry forward as always, currently sitting at $3,070,000, the finished with just under 11k in space if capfriendly is accurate. If the cap rises to 76 that leaves 2.7 million to sign 3 players to get to the 23 man roster limit. Replacing Campbell & Darling somehow & getting Panik resign an RFA!

      As has been the case for Chicago almost every summer since winning their 1st cup something has to give & a contract sent packing.

    • I find the idea that the Chicago big three defenders are “long in both” or slow as the most ridiculous visual representation spawn through newer announcers (ray ferraro) and dimly lit fans.
      But…in a year, I could see the subtraction come froma big trade of one of the big three.
      For all the talk about teams “trading for first pair defenders” just loook at what the OILERS HAD TO pay for Adam Larsson, and tell me again how these “long in tooth” hawk big three don’t yieled a whole lot of return.
      Speed did happen to the hawks in the last four, but it happend to their new players, and momentum became that six attacker, not slow Hammer, Seabrook, or Keith.

  5. The question Francis should be posing is who out of Ferland or Lazar is Calgary’s 7th keeper at forward, baring a trade I assume which ever 1 isn’t protected is taken by Vegas. Stajan isn’t even in the mix nor will he be selected by Vegas no slight to Stajan, age & contract issue. I assume Gaudreau, Monahan, Brouwer, Backlund, Frolik & Bennett are all locks.

    I assume Calgary may trade for a goalie before the expansion draft as they don’t have a goalie to protect currently & that could alter their keepers although I assume the goalie acquired will be acquired for a pick, picks, prospects or some combination there of not effecting their keepers.

  6. Won’t Calgary want to acquire a goalie before the expansion draft? Doesn’t not doing so just waste a protection spot? Not saying it will be a starter & they may fill the spot when the UFA market opens July 1st. I guess they could trade for the rights to a Bishop or Darling & sign them pre expansion draft so as not to waste this protector spot.

    Just another 1 of the weird expansion dynamics in play this summer.

    • Looks like we’re back to the Lazar conundrum. I always thought he wouldn’t be among Ottawa’s protected group – nor do I believe Calgary will protect him – although giving up a 2nd round pick for someone you were going to use as “expansion-draft bait” seems a might steep. Did they really want to dump Jokipakka that badly? LOL.

      • Will Ryan be protected now by Ottawa? I never understood his potentially being exposed regardless except that his cap hit isn’t ideal.

        Ryan has been instrumental in Boston being on the ropes. Well that & missing your #2; #1 offensive Dman in Krug, 1 of the best transitional & PP Dman in the NHL, & 3 Dman Carlo by TOI/GP.

        How can Ryan sit 8th in TOI/GP for forwards in Ottawa in the playoffs? Weird.

        As much as I’m a Bruins fan I took Ottawa to advance due to injuries. You can’t be missing that quality of D & expect to advance in the playoffs.

        I’m happy for George, Noel; who has been AWOL & all Senators fans. It’s great for numerous Canadians as well that only watch if Canadian teams advance. The Senators have played great, Anderson has been brilliant. Hoping the Bruins can extend the series tonight. Have really enjoyed watching this series.

      • It Has been a good series, though frustrating to watch you team lose. Living in Edmonton now and watching the Oilers Sharks series has been a treat as well.
        Re:Lazar, with ya George, you don’t give up a 2nd and then not keep him. Do ya? Kind of forced their own hand with that move. As to Strikers point the other one will be picked up by LV barring a trade prior.

      • Ryan will likely be protected now based upon his renewed energy … unless, that is, he bombs for the remainder of their playoffs. I imagine Dorion’s list is written in pencil so far – with an eraser handy.

        Rights now it’s likely the 7 – 3 – 1 formula he’s planning to use with Turris, Stone, Hoffman, Ryan, Brassard, Pageau, Smith – along with Karlsson, Phaneuf, Ceci and Anderson.

        They won’t protect MacArthur for obvious reasons – same reasons LV won’t take him – and when push comes to shove in LV, instead of taking a veteran D like Methot who wouldn’t be much help to an expansion franchise anyway looking at at least 3 years of development, McPhee will take either Dzingel who’s just 25 y/o with good speed and size and had a decent season with 14 goals 18 assists while being shuffled all over the line-up, OR Chris Wideman, a youngish D who’s also had a decent year in the 5/6 pairing.

    • Just throwing this out there…… don’t know if Calgary is keeping Elliot or not..he is not a bad choice…

      This is for all the people who think and keep dumping on MAF that he isn’t a terrific goalie did you watch last night when he stole a game and the Penguins eliminated Columbus…

      Winnipeg St.Louis, Calgary Dallas Vancouver and a few other could use the winning athletic good professional goalie.


      • Fleury ha been questioned a lot here recently and in the media.
        I think we can put that case to rest now.
        JR did a phenomenal job by not selling low on him.
        I like the attitude of win the cup first and then figure it out in the offseason.
        Thats a gutsy move and its what you need in a GM when looking to win cups.

        I see a few teams making trades that appear to have been lost at first sight, Montreal with the Weber deal, Leafs with the Kessel trade, Chia trading Hall etc.

        regardless of how you slice it all these teams are in the playoffs and will probably be there next year too

      • Taz nailed it about Jim Rutherford – another trip from the outhouse to the penthouse. Reminds me of a certain GM in Toronto, maybe a certain coach in Anaheim. Could be they have a clue after all.

    • Calgary has Todd Mcollum signed and protected currently.

  7. Brent Seabrook is certainly a good hockey player but a $9 million dollar salary and a close to $7 million dollar cap hit tells you everything you need to know about the Hawks. He’s on the wrong side of 30 and that contract goes 7 more years! Imagine the ransom they could have gotten if they had traded him instead. As a Jets fan I’m grateful they didn’t!

    • When was Seabrook up for trade and when did ANY Jet defender play better than him all year?

      • Uh, what? I said they should have traded him. Regardless if any Jet was better or not – oh and they did beat Chicago in all but one game this year for a 4-1 record – $9 MILLLION DOLLARS for Brent Seabrook is idiotic.

  8. Actually Hextall has made it fairly clear he is very willing to break up the core… Unfortunately Simmonds would bring the biggest haul, but leave the biggest hole. As for G and JV, you’re not getting a bag of pucks unless you retain some salary.

    • Are you kidding?
      Giroux is still an elite center or just outside that mark. Sure he had a down year but look at the first half of Crosby’s 2015-2016, it happens.
      He is a point per game player in the 5 years preceding this year.
      If Giroux and Simmonds are on the market.
      You get more offers for SImmonds but you get a much larger return for Giroux.

      • I hate the flyers but i wouldn’t trade Simmons or Giroux that makes no sense unless you got a Cam Fowler or Matt Duchense in return

      • Wish it were true (the larger return). He’s more talented for sure, but with his salary, you’re not getting much back. What team is looking for a guy on the down side of an 8 Million plus a year contract?

        He has been in decline for the last few years, it hasn’t just been this year. No GM would take that chance without the Flyers retaining some salary.

    • In what reality doe Seabrook make 9 million?

      • Bill, can you read? I said 9 million salary, close to 7 million cap hit. Pay attention.

  9. @ Brock landers:

    Is that true Brent Seabrook makes $9 million ? that’s a joke…. he is really good but he isn’t even the best defence man on his own team let alone as good as Karlson Burns Jossi Weber Letang Doughty.

    I mean i think Jonathan Toews is an excellent leader but he is making like $10.5 million a year?….wow

      • Thanks man that unbelievable thought Seabrook was around $5.5 maybe $ 6….cool chart thanks bud..

        dont think the bLACKHAWKS got their moneys worth in the playoffs… Kane 1 goal, Toews 1 goal, AND Seabrook 0 goals for ALmOST $30 MILLION

  10. The writer from philly does not know Wayne Simmonds from Richard Simmons. Only a village idiot would make that suggestion.

  11. So using your chart that says Seabrook is making 9 million, SUBBAN is making 11 MILLION.

    Tell me why you would pay him 2 mil more and Montreal os paying Weber 12 mil, and Hedman 8 mil