NHL Rumor Mill – April 27, 2017

by | Apr 27, 2017 | Rumors | 57 comments

Will Tyler Bozak and James van Riemsdyk return with the Leafs next season?

Updates on the Toronto Maple Leafs, Tampa Bay Lightning, Columbus Blue Jackets and New York Rangers in your NHL rumor mill.  

TSN: Kristen Shilton looked at possible offseason changes for the Toronto Maple Leafs roster. She believes the blueline is the most obvious area where the most sweeping moves could be made, as Roman Polak and Matt Hunwick are over-30 and unrestricted free agents in July.

Whether general manager Lou Lamoriello swaps a talented young forward for a defenseman depends on several factors, such as the impact of the expansion draft upon this summer’s trade market. Veteran forwards James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak are a year away from UFA status. With coach Mike Babcock saying William Nylander not moving to center next season, it seems Bozak will return. UFA center Brian Boyle has expressed interest in re-signing.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox noted Lamoriello praised the respective performances of van Riemsdyk and Bozak this season. But with the club’s promising young forwards coming off their entry-level contracts within the next couple of years, it could prove difficult to re-sign the duo before next summer. Fox wonders if the Leafs should move the duo while their trade value is high to fetch a return that plugs their holes on the blueline or keep them and see how next season plays out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Leafs prefer to retain van Riemsdyk and Bozak, but that will depend upon what the duo seeks to re-sign. Contract discussions can begin on July 1. It’ll also depend upon the effects of the expansion draft upon the trade market, as well as how many cap-strapped clubs look to shed salary. The Leafs could keep both for next season in hopes of staging a deeper playoff run next spring, but having that uncertainty over their futures hanging over their heads could prove an unwelcome distraction. 

TAMPA BAY TIMES: In a recent mailbag segment, Joe Smith speculated the Lightning will go the trade route this summer to address their need for a top-four defenseman. He expects they’ll target teams at risk of losing a blueliner to the June expansion draft, such as “Nashville, Anaheim, Minnesota and St. Louis.”

Smith believes winger Jonathan Drouin or center Tyler Johnson are the most likely trade candidates to land that top-four rearguard. He also thinks the Bolts could make smaller deals, perhaps with the expansion Vegas Golden Knights, or trying to unload defenseman Jason Garrison’s contract ($4.6 million cap hit).

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites hockey insider Bob McKenzie telling Montreal’s TSN 690 he thinks “it’s more likely than not” that Drouin gets deal this summer. He cites “economics” and the needs of the Lightning roster, pointing out concerns over their salary-cap space, the cost of re-signing Johnson and Ondrej Palat and to address their blueline depth. He acknowledged it’s possible to re-sign Drouin, Johnson and Palat if they’ll agree to hometown discounts, but they’ll still need to bring in that top-four defenseman.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning have over $55 million invested in 13 players. They’ll lose a salaried player to the expansion draft, which could free up a little more cap space. GM Steve Yzerman was able to get notable stars such as Steven Stamkos, Nikita Kucherov and Victor Hedman to accept less than market value to re-sign with the Bolts. He could do the same with Drouin, Johnson and Palat, find a taker to dump Garrison’s contract and get creative to bring in a top-four blueliner. But if those RFAs all seek significant raises and if he can’t shed more salary, Yzerman will have a difficult time bolstering his defense corps.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin recently reported Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen could find it difficult to find sufficient salary-cap room to add a top-four defenseman or a frontline forward, let alone both. They currently have just $2.9 million in cap space for next season.

Kekalainen must re-sign restricted free agent forwards Alexander Wennberg and Josh Anderson, as well as backup goalies Joonas Korpisalo and Anton Forsberg. Larkin notes the Jackets will get some additional cap room when they lose a salaried player to the expansion draft (possibly Matt Calvert and his $2.2 million cap hit), but what they really need is to convince Scott Hartnell ($4.75 million annually through 2018-19) to waive his no-movement clause and then to find a taker for him.

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH: Aaron Portzline also recently reported on possible offseason decisions for the Jackets. In addition to touching on the points raised by Larkin, he notes the Jackets have to reach a decision on pending UFAs Sam Gagner and Kyle Quincey. He also considers it unlikely Hartnell will waive his no-movement clause to be exposed in the expansion draft.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen has his work cut out for him this summer. Wennberg and Anderson could be re-signed to bridge deals with the promise of more lucrative deals next time. A couple of pundits have also suggested convincing Brandon Dubinsky to waive his NMC, but I don’t see that happening. They will get some cap relief next season with David Clarkson on permanent LTIR. That could give them enough to re-sign those restricted free agents, but not enough to pursue any players via free agency. 

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis recently wondered what the future holds for New York Rangers defenseman Kevin Klein. Once an invaluable part of their blueline, Klein’s play slipped over the last two seasons. He was also hampered by back injury. He has a year left on his contract ($2.9 million cap hit) and could be exposed in the expansion draft or possibly moved via trade. 

Larry Brooks noted the improved play of Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi, but speculates this could be his last season with the Blueshirts. Brooks thinks Girardi is facing a possible contract buyout of the final three years of his contract ($5.5 million annual cap hit). 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers could buy out Girardi to free up cap space to add more speed to their defense. However, it’ll cost the Rangers over $2.6 million for next season, over $3.6 million annually for the next two seasons, followed by over $1.11 million annually for the final three seasons.


  1. Klein took a nosedive this year. They will definitely be exposing Klein, Holden and forced to protect Girardi and Staal and no brainer protecting Mcdonagh.

    I doubt NY has any interest in buying out Girardi at this point. Nor should they. Brooks is nuts!
    Move him down to 2nd or 3rd pairing. He has had a bounce back year, yet they still overload him with 1st pairing minutes? If they still feel he’s capable of logging 27-28 minutes in the playoffs, I’m sure they’re confident he’ll be okay in a lesser role until his contract is up, or more palatable to buy out, or move with salary retention.

    • Am I crazy thinking the Rangers need to keep Smith regardless of their pursuit of Shattenkirk? Girardi Klein and Staal have been pretty bad this season. Macdonagh Skhej Holden and Smith have been pretty good. Add Shattenkirk and maybe that 6th guy can be one of girardi Staal or Klein.

      Who on the Rangers has to be protected from expansion? It seems to me if they can work Girardi off the team it’d be beneficial even if it’s costly.

      • I completely disagree here. Staal and Girardi both seen a bounce back year, Holden started great, but has had issues until paired with Staal. As far as Shattenkirk….NO THANKS! A RH version of Yandle at 7 per? NO THANK YOU PLEASE! LOL.

        Loose Klein, re-sign Smith call up Graves!
        Again, If they trust Girardi at 21-25-28 minutes per game, they can certainly move him down to 18-20 per on a lower pairing, with lesser matchups. No need to take a hit now.

      • Oops lose not loose Klein!

      • I think 1 of the forwards is far more likely to be selected than Klein & Holden would get selected before him as well. Grabner, Fast or Lindberg.

      • At this point, I’m not exactly sure Lindberg , Fast, or Grabner will all be exposed. Someone like Zuccs, Zbad, or Hayes could easily find themselves on the outside looking in. Maybe NY likes Stepan Hayes , Lindberg? It may depend on Zbads negotiations? It may all depend on how they do in the playoffs, and what they feel they can shed in salary.

      • NYR will protect the best player. I would be shocked to see them expose any of those players to keep Fast or Lindberg. NYR’s cap problems aren’t that sever.

        They have 18 players signed with 9.2 available today + another 2 to 3 million next season in cap increase. That’s 11 to 12 mil & the only RFA seeing a significant raise is Zibanejad. I assume they would like to resign Smith & should still have enough to do so.

        They lose at least a mil in expansion potentially more as if it’s Fast or Lindberg, 1 or both of these players could be moved before expansion potentially I assume it would cost more than a mil to resign either & NYR will probably make at least 1 trade post expansion.

        I think NYR is better served to dangle Grabner, Fast & Lindberg. I assume 1 will be selected allowing NYR to retain Holden & the other 2 not selected.

      • Again, all depends on zbads demands and performance….If he is wanting too much, why not let Hayes take the 1-2 role? Wouldn’t be the 1st time in recent history? Zuccs was a 3rd line guy, so was Brassard? So was Stepan once upon a time….

        Last year I thought Lindberg was on his way out…. he is making a case at this point, as is Hayes for slot 2…..

        Again, we’ll see. I doubt grabber is protected, but to say you have the locks is slightly delusional!

      • Once again, I remember watching a broadcast where someone (can’t remember who) said ” I can’t say, I can honestly say I haven’t seen enough of this player”…. and I thought “call striker”! Lmao! You pretend to know a lot through fantasy, you regurgitate a lot of what people say about their team… I’ve watched you say things about ny, and go back a week later saying the same thing i or another ranger fan says…. i.e. “Nash is a lock at left wing” ….. Nash is a right wing………

        Ny doesn’t retain salary or buy out players in the cap era….” next week repeated! It’s okay to once in a while say….. “I don’t know”!

      • I’m with ya in the no thanks for Shattenkirk sentiment, but it sounds like the Rangers are hot for him. Your analysis makes sense to me, but management has often confused me with their decisions

      • Rhetoric. Just because we don’t agree does it have to resort to essentially name calling? Let’s discuss & debate the issue instead. We don’t have to agree & we will know soon enough. Why get so frustrated just because I don’t agree?

        If they don’t want to sign Zibanejad as his contract demands are unattainable they will protect him then look to trade him.

        I disagree with your personal assesements of my posts as well & certainly aren’t regurgitating the opinions of posts here. I’ll go ask an expert. Simple as sending an email to the local scribe for any team or the PR dept. Better yet watch the game & see the posted line up. Shown every game right after the puck drops.

        Almost all players start lower in the line up & earn their opportunities as they develop mov8ng up the roster. Asset management isn’t rocket science.

        Niether Fast or Lindberg have any where near Zibanejad’s value nor will they ever salary demands or not. Zibanejad is already having a great playoffs. Leads the team in playoff scoring & that game winning OT goal was huge.

      • Stop! Are you denying you called Nash “a lock at left wing” or you heard from me that they have never retained a dime in salary in a trade, or a buyout in the cap era? I’ll take the time to find the posts if you wish! Stop! You can’t possibly know 1/2 of what you believe you know….. even if you have season tickets to 33 teams in the NHL ( get what I did there? ) and 24 khl teams!!! Stop!

        You act as though nothing is real until you put your stamp of approval on it……or compare it to your fantasy world… let’s see….. Tampa will win the east ? Weber, subban , hall will never be traded! Stop!!!!!!! Seriously…… Stop!

      • Not every post here needs or wants your stamp! I know that’s almost impossible to believe that we don’t really care…. but it’s a harsh reality you MUSst face! Every single post, team, opinion, thought , individual idea….. does NOT, need your , google, espn, tsn, fox sports etc. opinions behind them! Nor do they need your climbing mt. Everest , having 27 season ticket, being an oil guru, stock guru, ” demographics expert” ( which I know you are full crap on…. because this is my actual area of expertise) ” astronaut, cowboy, doctor, lawyer, fry guy ,! Been a here done that attitude or opinion! Just stop! Again, no comment or I don’t know would do! Once in a while!!!!

  2. After that interview maybe Kucherov is the one to move, gotta think that’s gonna be an awkward room.

    • That’s not a good look by Kucherov, hard to walk back into the dressing room after those comments. I don’t see Drouin giving a home team discount to help out Stevie Y. Should be interesting to see how this unfolds.

      • He doesn’t have to. Yzerman offers him a bridge deal. He has zero leverage & no arbitration rights. He takes what he’s offered or negotiates something close to it or we all know how that plays out. Yzerman waited Drouin out once already, did the same with Kucherov.

        There is nothing wrong with taking a 2 or 3 year bridge deal. You still get very well paid & get to cash in following. I love the benefit to the club. You lock the player up 2 or 3 years longer.

    • Perhaps the primary player in question, Filppula was moved? Kucherov isn’t going any where & the translation is never perfect. He isn’t necessarily pointing a finger at Johnson or Palat they haven’t been paid yet his reference to got their money then disappeared. Killorn maybe?

      If Killorn were exposed would Vegas take his 7 years & 4.25 per?

      • Yeah, he’s calling out a guy now in Philly! Lmao! Stop!

      • I don’t know he’s calling out. He’s talking about the season. Filppula was there for most of it. The only other 2 that meet my perception of tbe criteria expressed is killorn & Collburn.

        Again I could care less as I have no issues with his comments.

      • And I could care less about your comments…. and I don’t think I’m alone here!

  3. I was wondering the same thing Shticky. But then again maybe it needed to be said?

    • I don’t think there is ever a time that you blindside coaches, teammates, management etc. in a foreign publication. If it needed to be said, it needed to be said in a locker room, break up day etc.

      I don’t see this as an act of bravery, courage, or a motivational tool. This is a gutless move, and sooner or later he’ll have to step back in that locker room.

      I don’t know the cba’s stance on this, but Stevie Y (if possible) should suspend him indefinitely.

      • I agree with you there. Definitely better to be said face to face rather than in the media. Good point! Certainly looks more self serving this way.

      • I have very little issue with Kucherov’s comments. The interview was held shortly after the season ended & TB missed the playoffs. I like the fact he voiced his displeasure. Who are his comments directed at?

        His reference was got their money & stopped playing essentially. Their are only 2 players on TB’s roster that meet that criteria. Killorn & Coburn!

        If Drouin can do what he did & be accepted back with open arms he makes Kucherov look like a choir boy.

      • I don’t love the comments, but at the same time I do think that translation and him being Russian and away in Russia while making the comments is a big part of the outrage.

        I have heard similar comments from young players this year. Mackinnon in Colorado said at one point something along the lines of “there are guys in here that just don’t seem to want to play”. Eichel’s media comments were just as bad, and that only blew up because of rumors of things he said off camera about if the coach comes back he wouldn’t be signing long term.

        Kucherov played well enough this year to be somewhat entitled to speak his mind if there were players that he beleives cost his team a shot at the playoffs. Again, I think those types of things should stay within a locker room, but I also think that Kucherov is being treated a little harsher than guys who have made similar comments in the past.

    • The game needs more who speak their minds rather than pick and choose from the tried-and-true Book Of Cliches (hopefully this … and hopefully that … yadda yadda yadda). That’s one thing I miss about Jeremy Roeneke and Brett Hull!

      • Ehhh again, it can be done without blindsiding and pinpointing blame. Torts end in NY wasn’t done publicly. It came in a private way. A true leader doesn’t need to throw everyone under the bus. I read the article yesterday in its entirety , I don’t quite remember Kucherov taking ANY even partial responsibility in Tampas failures. Truly gutless move!

        In what world can anyone go to an outside source and rip everyone in ANY business and walk away unscathed?

      • Bryzgalov?

      • I agree George. Nor did I have any serious issues with his comments. Good on him. I certainly saw the hornets nest but I don’t care. Speak from your heart, tell it like it is.

      • Yeah, sorry…. gutless… maybe he knew it would reach over…. “but “when his agent says”but”….. we’ll we all know pretty much every word that follows “but” is bs!

        You’re a good guy “but”…
        I love you “but”….
        It’s not you it’s me …”but”

      • Make a stand in the locker room, make a stand in preseason, make a stand on breakup day, or stfu! Hull or Roenick never did anything in their careers to justify those mouths…. although I did see Jeremy break down and cry like a little girl on national tv…. for everything he never achieved!

    • Who said it wasn’t? What good comes from telling the hockey world? What’s the objective and goal of the statement? Is it to get out of Tampa? Coach fired? Just to play with the guy you want to play with?
      It’s good reading material but harmful to yourself and your team.

      • Sometimes I think these European players don’t realize what they say over there will get back to North America. After reading the interview I think he was just whining and trying to make himself look good to a reporter and to his homeboys.
        More a sign of immaturity than malicious intent to get somebody fired or some other ulterior motive. Either way, agreed not a good look.

      • Well, since we’re ALL guessing at what prompted him – and that’s ALL we can do – maybe, just maybe, he knows specifically who on the team went through the motions. He didn’t name names.

        Reading into his motives with the worst opinions is a lot like last year when many were ready to toss Patrick Kane under the bus on that ultimately phony “rape” charge.

        Rush to judgement guys.

      • He didn’t name names….but guys that got paid? Sounds like a direct call out to Vasi, Hedman, Stamkos etc. And if that’s not what he meant….he should have been more specific…. Maybe Callahan, Stralman? Who knows…. Even makes him more gutless imo.

      • I guess it would have been better to call SOMEONE out by name….At least he would have only pissed off a couple …few? Instead he’ll piss off an entire locker room , coaching staff? LOL. Total gutless move!

      • 40 goals & 85 points. He doesn’t need to make himself look good he is good. 1 of the best young & coming stars in the NHL. Tied for 2nd in goals & 5th in points. Best value in the NHL. 2 more years at under 5 mil & an RFA upon completion.

        He called out who again? This wasn’t directed at all his teammates. His comments were qualified.

      • NYR4life.

        I don’t agree. Stamkos got injured played 17 games & played great in those games 9 goals & 20 points, Kucherov also said he was playing great with Stamkos until injured. Vas & Hedman’s deals don’t kick in till next season but again both played great. I don’t even know how you come out of reading those posts with your perception those 3 players were being singled out.

        Again I only see 3. Filppula since traded, Killorn & Coburn. At least based on the references he provided.

      • Gutless? It would be gutless if he never intended on coming back. He isn’t stupid I’m sure. 10,000 km or not, he knew damned well that what he said to a Russian reporter would find its way back to N. America what with today’s social media and instant communication. Clearly he isn’t worried about having to face the ones he referred to – and IF what he said is true, it’s those players who have something about which to be concerned.

      • George, agree on the Kane thing that was a rush to judge especially knowing what we know now.
        I think where some of us disagree is that it doesn’t matter if he knows who it was, and it doesn’t matter if they were or they were not coasting because they had a nice contract.
        In my opinion, and seems some others on this string, the issue is going to the media with it. Whether or not it is true is not the point.
        As NYR says, the way you handle this is face to face. It stays in the room and you deal with it in the room, not in the public.
        Yes, it leads to cliches and boring interviews, but big deal.
        I can’t think of a good reason to tell the media your opinion of team mates work ethic, if someone has one I would like to hear it.

  4. Not the first time that questions have been raised about the Jon Cooper’s coaching in TB. Don’t think Steven Stamkos is the coach’s buddy there, and then there’s Drouin.
    Speaking of coaches, Joel Quenneville must be considering his options after the GM fired his long-time assistant Mike Kitchen without informing Quenneville. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in the Bowman family.

    • Joel Quenneville has nothing left to accomplish. If he gets fired he would be wise to ride off in the sunset. He has the ‘stache for it!

  5. Taking in the Leafs trading JvR rumor, while he may be a potential candidate this has the potential to be a terrible move.
    The Leafs are razor thin on LW.
    JvR, Komarov, Hyman and Martin with only Johnson and Leipsic in the pipe.
    Hyman is a natural RW playing his off wing as well.

    I don’t see a playoff team quality LW here, I think there is more harm than benefit to losing JVR

  6. Guess I can be a sports writer and say Crosby to the Habs for picks and players

    • More likely Malkin Scott. At least that’s a little more believable.

      How about Malkin,Guentzel, and a 4th round pick for Pacioretty, Petry, MacCarron, a 2nd round pick and a 3rd rounder?

      Let’s get the rumour mill started! Oh yeah the Penguins are still in the playoffs!

      I prefer to read about and analyze trades after the fact. I get the feeling you do to.

    • Scott…you feeling alright Crosby to Montreal please…… that’s not happening…

      trump has more of a chance of winning the lady Bing trophy

      • Let’s leave politics the F off here!

  7. I would argue that Yzerman didn’t get Stamkos & Hedman to sign under value but at market value. As for Kucherov he was bridged. 3 years as opposed to 2 was a bonus & I would agree that even bridged this should have been at least 5 if not 5.5.

    Garrison’s actual salary next season is 2.5 with a cap hit of 4.6. He will be appealing to teams in trade following the expansion draft or the buy out free’s up almost 3.5 in cap space if necessary.

    I won’t regurgitate the #’s & TB may well trade someone but TB can make the monies work if they choose to & add a top 4 Dman. Players are starting to accept the cap realities. I don’t pay Johnson or Palat a dime over 5.5 ideally nominally less. Drouin gets bridged weather he likes it or not.

    Vatanen Anh 4.875; 3 more years, Savard Clb 4.25; 4 more years, Brodin Min 4.125; 4 more years, De Haan NYI; RFA, Methot Ott 4.9; 2 more years. All 5 of these teams are losing a Dman if 1 isn’t traded before the expansion. 2 potential 1 anyway even if they trade 1. Anh & Minnesota although I assume Bieksa waives his NMC for expansion or is bought out if not injured during the buyout windows.

    There are at least 6 other teams as well that may lose a what will soon be a top 4 Dman if not already. Young D just on the cusp of becoming this asset.

  8. Apropos to nothing, but I heard an interview with Jim Rutherford the other day and (this is purely my speculation, but…) reading between the lines, I think he might have already cut a deal with Vegas regarding MAF.

    Wouldn’t comment at all on the idea of having both goalies back next year. Normally, he’d diplomatically allow for the possibility.

    • I believe Scott, it may have been Steven made a reference to just that a while back. 1 made a reference to Neuvirth in Philly the other Pitts I believe. It’s all just a fog now.

      If Pittburgh wants to keep both & I were Vegas I want Dumoulin & a 1st to pass on selecting Murray. Otherwise solve the problem yourself & I’ll take Hornqvist if you move MAF in trade before the expansion draft to solve the problem. Asumin Pittsburgh protects 4 Dman. Letang, Maatta, Schultz & Dumoulin.

      • I meant he may have cut a deal where MAF was already promised to Vegas.

  9. The # of players that have been bought out with over 2 years remaining on their contracts is incredibly limited. I don’t see NYR buying out Girardi this summer nor do they need to. With the cap increasing by 2 to 3 mil, a nominal salary lost in the expansion, Grabner, Holden, Fast, or Lindberg.

    Baring trade I see NYR protecting 7F; Stepan, Nash, Kreider, Zucarrello, Zibanejad, Miller & Hayes. 3 D Staal, McDonaugh & Giradi. Ideally Giradri would waive his NMC but not guaranteed.

    • If I am Vegas I’d be picking Holden out of this group. At 29 he still has a lot of years left in him and a good top 4 guy for an expansion team

      Unless we see a flurry of trades vegas might have a really good D core.

      • Being a UFA a year out I might lean to Fast or Lindberg. Regardless Vegas should get a decent group of Dman they can parlay down the road. Just no #1’s or 2’s until they can trade for or develop 1. Even a solid #3 will be difficult but not impossible.

        Can’t wait to see how teams position themselves following the cup being awarded & June 17th the day they need to submit their protected rosters. They then have 2 bonus days to buy themselves a solution with Vegas before they submit their selections to the NHL. We wait until the 21st to hear the outcome.

        Should be great summer for hockey fans like us.

  10. mr pegula,
    time to wake up…..your team is in disarray. bill guerin for gm? cmon!!!! why dont you give mr craig button a call and do yourself a favor and beg him for his services. craig knows young talent better than anybody. let him hire his own gm just hire craig and back off.

  11. i have read article after article. nhl tells mr pegula to hire staff as gm / coach that have more experience than the people in office prior. what does pegula do? the same thing he did when murray got hired…..a assistant gm in the making. that doesnt spell experience mr pegula. mr pegula are you a hockey man or a hockey fan? craig button has been writing for tsn and been on nhl network for years and would be a perfect fit in buffalo with experience and knowledge of drafting and past gm. if pegula thinks guerin or his group of idiot backup gms with noi prior experience as murray who traded all the first round picks away to LOSE NOW we should say goodbye to jack eichel and the future of the sabres as a franchise