Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 30, 2017

by | Apr 30, 2017 | Rumors | 55 comments

No return to the Devils for Ilya Kovalchuk?

Updates on Jonathan Drouin, Ilya Kovalchuk, Joe Thornton and more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports Russian forward Ilya Kovalchuk “is all but certain” to return to the NHL next season, but not with the New Jersey Devils. While the Devils still hold his NHL rights, Brooks cites sources suggesting Kovalchuk’s return could be via a sign-and-trade deal. He also said he was told to expect significant interest in the 34-year-old winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering the Devils are rebuilding it’s unlikely Kovalchuk will be interested in returning with them. He could try to sign with another team but that would require unanimous approval of all 31 NHL general managers. The sign-and-trade is probably the best scenario. I can’t see any contract for the 34-year-old being a long-term one.

Brooks also cited “several well-connected sources” claim the Tampa Bay Lightning intend to use left wing Jonathan Drouin as trade bait to land a top-four defenseman, with the Anaheim Ducks “shaping up as the most likely trade partner.”

The Drouin trade speculation first arose in January when there was talk he was offered to the Blues in a package deal for Kevin Shattenkirk. That chatter resurfaced earlier this month when the Lightning failed to reach the postseason. It takes quality to land a good top-four defenseman and Drouin could certainly fetch a solid return for the Bolts. So, too, could center Tyler Johnson if the Lightning prove reluctant to move Drouin. 

In his final column for, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun speculated the coming offseason could be the busiest in league history. He cites the expansion draft and a stagnant salary cap as likely factors to generate considerable player movement.

Noting the likelihood the Anaheim Ducks and Minnesota Wild risk losing a quality defenseman in the draft, LeBrun expects they’ll try to swing a side deal with the Vegas Golden Knights or ship a blueliner they can’t protect to another NHL club, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Winnipeg Jets and Tampa Bay Lightning.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’d also add the Detroit Red Wings and New Jersey Devils among those clubs. 

Regarding the Leafs, LeBrun doubts they’ll pursue a top-four defenseman at any cost, especially if that cost is a good young forward such as William Nylander.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Should the Leafs go shopping for a blueliner, I expect they’ll either trade left wing James van Riemsdyk if they can’t re-sign him to a contract extension this summer, or they’ll draw upon their depth of draft picks and prospects as trade bait for that top-four defenseman. 

LeBrun also suggested it’ll be interesting to see what the San Jose Sharks do with aging forwards Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau. Both are eligible for unrestricted free agency in July. He doubted the Sharks will go past one year in their offers for either guy. He wondered if Thornton will consider offers from other clubs.



  1. LOL. And the expressions on the faces of the Avs and Canucks contingent gave every indication that that was exactly what they just swallowed.

    • That, I thought, was being posted in the news section. Ahh well, it was funny to see their looks, Lyle, and a shit sundae summed it up pretty well.

    • Joe Thornton?

      • Actually, I thought I was posting that in the new section in response to Lyle’s comment about a s^*t sundae.

      • News secion – sheesh – damned faded script!

      • I give up – LMAO

  2. How does Winnipeg get another Dman onto their roster before the expansion draft? Buffy, & Enstrom have NMC’s, they also have Myers & Trouba. If they ask Enstrom to waive or buy him out then still no room for a 4th Dman as they have to many protectors at forward.

    No slight to Lebrun he’s 1 of the best in the business but he didn’t put much thought into that comment.

    • Winnipeg makes a ton of sense considering defense is their biggest weakness? Considering how many teams need dmen Myers and enstrom could be moved relatively easy

      • Sorry easily confused this morning. Are you suggesting Winnipeg trades these 2 Dman to bring in another dman to replace them before the expension draft?

      • Enstrom would have to waive his nmc. I’m sure Winnipeg would like him to do that, it would make their decisions much easier. As of today they’ll protect Byfuglien, Myers, Trouba and Enstrom. Myers coming off injury is an unknowm at this point but very effective when not injured.

      • If winnipeg protects 4 dman which forward are they lossing?

        Might they not look to buy enstrom out with 1 year remaining at 5.75? If they did what does that hold if trouba forces a trade in the not to distant future?

      • The Myers injury is exactly why I’d leave him unprotected – why would McPhee go down an uncertain road when he knows they will not be competitive for at least 3 years. I really think he will concentrate on the younger players available left exposed and then bring in more veteran type players through UFA signings or trades.

      • Myer’s isn’t being left unprotected.

      • Didn’t say he would be – simply that I would take a gamble on a guy that might not attract attention since he’s coming off surgery again and, except for 2015-16 when he play 73 games, hasn’t come close to a full season since 2011-12.

      • & to think myer’s is 6’8″ & still susceptible to injuries. That was meant to be semi humorous.

  3. As I have stated repeatedly relying on these odds to secure a good pick is not smart anymore. Finishing last now is of no benefit as the odds of you picking 1st aren’t very good. 17.9%. The days of tanking it to get a great pick; top 3, are over.

    • The rebuild process will still see GM’s icing poor teams during the early stages, but it will be more related to the process than tanking for a pick. Moving on from players who don’t fit what you are trying to build to replenish assets, moving roster players for non-roster assets to maximize value, trading veterans for picks and prospects will all still be in the rebuild tool box, and that will lead to teams peforming poorly. But now, getting 2-3 #1 picks is nearly impossible with the odds of doing something like what the oilers did (4 1st overalls in 7 years) having about 0.05% chance of happening even if you finish last in 7 straight years.

      Also, it is nice to see a team that wasn’t completely non-competitive get rewarded, as it just drives home the point of the new system. Having a team like Philly get the 2nd overall is pretty enticing and it’s nice to see a team not feel punished for trying to make the playoffs. Instead they get to add a piece that will likely be NHL ready immediately, and capable of improving their team right away.

  4. Congratulations to NJ & Philly fans. Both will be well served by their good fortune.

    • and Dallas, they also moved up to take the 3rd overall pick.

      • Absolutely although the consensus appears to be the difference between 3rd & 10th is a coin toss.

      • I’m a littler Leary on Patrick, he’s been touted at the #1 for 3 years and I often mentioned his name on here. Nolan gets injured a lot and never seem to rush back from any injuries. Great talent to is injury prone and has a reputation for not pushing thru.

      • Im still surprised as to why Dallas did so horribly this year considering they were 2nd overall the year before hope they pick up a solid Goalie/Dman with their 1st pick since their GAA is horrible(even in their strong season)

  5. Drouin is a top-tier talent. Teams trading young defencemen because they must avoid losing them in the draft aren’t likely to get that much. For a young 3-4 from a team that must trade i’d see Namestnikov or Kilorn, or Tyler Johnson & a prospect for a pair as the lightning need 2. Drouin would have to fetch a proven #1 with term — which also exacerbates the Bolts cap issues. The Bolts have a good first and second pair Swedish anchor, and several OK but slow footed lower pair players. Need speed, mobility. Need depth of speed and mobility. Need to lose a contract (Garrison). Need to resolve Callahan. Would love to upgrade Sustr. Will lose a fwd in draft. Can’t see Drouin out and a second #1 in D as the best team building option.

    • Druin doesn’t come close to fetching a number 1. And so many teams need d that the competition will be the price driver despite the “need to trade”. On top of that mcfee saying he was open for business for draft picks gives the teams even more leverage with their assets.

      • Sorry having site glitches this AM.

      • You could be right, teams might find it cheaper to make side deals with Vegas to protect their player then the return being offered from another team. It will be an interesting time. Does look like Vegas is going to come away with a ton of picks over the next few years.

      • Some had better be careful what picks they give up because in 2018 there might just be another franchise-type pick on the horizon in Swedish D Rasmus Dahlin.

      • McPhee being open for business will likely have effect on prices to an extent, but overall it shouldn’t be enough to drive prices sky high.

        What would the cost be to protect Ryan Ellis. Mcphee won’t likely take less than what he sees the difference between Ellis and his next best choice as. So if he took say, Craig Smith, what would you need to add to Craig Smith in order to make his value similar to Ryan Ellis? Say it was a 1st and 2nd. That probably doesn’t get it done, but let’s just assume it does.

        Nashville would essentially lose Craig Smith, 1st and a 2nd.

        Or they could look at trading Ryan Ellis. I see Ellis as the most valuable possible casualty as he is 26, seems to be top pairing calibre, and has an extremely cheap cap hit. Would he net Drouin? If Tampa was willing to trade Drouin for Shattenkirk, my guess is that would be reasonable.

        So that makes the value to Nashville of Ellis being Smith, 1st, 2nd, and Drouin. So I can’t see the side deals driving prices that much, since it still makes trading Ellis more appealing.

      • That’s not accurate at all Danny. The value difference isn’t what will drive the price. To use your example say Ellis is at risk. Nash does not want to lose him for nothing. They prefer to keep him. If mcfee uses your logic and asks for the moon Nash just says no, trades Ellis for a decent return. Now all vegas has to show for the tough guy stance is the one asset Nash leaves them whereas they could have gotten two assets if they played ball. Every player traded prior to the expansion draft is a loss for the trading team but also a loss for Vegas. If benefits McKee to ask for reasonable returns. Vegas won’t get 1st rounders back unless it’s in the late 20’s or 30’s. second rounders and more likely thirds are along the lines of cost to not take a player. The value of a player who would cost more would mean it would make more sense to trade them for assets prior to expansion draft. It’s not nearly as simplistic as solely the value of the player in comparison to another.

      • Danny.

        Nashville will use the 8 skater option protecting 4 D. Subban, Josi, Ellis & Ekholm. I assume Wilson or Neal will be lost baring a trade. I assume Jonasson, Forsberg, Jarnkrok & Arvidsson will be the 4 skaters protected. Agian baring a trdae pre expansion draft.

    • There is still a solid market for Dman before the expansion draft. At least 8 teams could use 1 of the Dman 5 teams are confronted with potentially losing. Another 3 could justify exposing a Dman of lesser quality to add 1 from these 5 teams.

      The 5 teams with far to many being Anh, Clb, Min, NYI & Ott.

    • The market for Dman pre expansion draft will be very strong even with 5 teams confronted with losing a very good Dman. Anh, Clb, Min, NYI & Ott are all losing a solid top 4 dman that some on many teams would be as high as #2’s.

      At least 8 teams have room in their top 3 for any of these D from these 5 teams. 3 others could easily justify adding 1 of these 5 & exposing their 3rd keeper at D.

      • Ottawa won’t lose one of their Top 4 in the draft – Dzingel will be LV pick much as I hate to lose him. You were likely thinking Methot – but with no prospect of being competitive for at least 3 years why would McPhee take a 31 y/o D who’s never played a full season in the NHL in his entire 12-year career? I may be wrong on that – but I really think he will concentrate on younger players available with upside (and Dzingel is young, fairly big and very fast).

        McPhee can complement younger D selected with veteran UFAs and the odd trade here and there.

      • For the trade value Methot will provide post expansion. 31 with 2 years left he could be moved for a 1st & a solid prospect at some point in the next year. I would be shocked if Dzingel were selected over Methot. Methot may well be traded before the expansion draft.

      • Interesting aspect I hadn’t considered. Whatever happens it IS going to be fun to watch the wheeling and dealing.

      • Agree with Striker. Methot is way more valuable than Dzingel.

  6. Jumbo Joe to Montreal on a 3 year??? ;-0

    • So, the Habs should sign a soon-to-be 38 y/o to a 3 year deal who’s undergoing surgery for a torn ACL and MCL?? And I thought Radulov was a gamble!

    • Why?

  7. I have reviewed this years talent pool for the draft, there are 3 highly regarded defenseman hovering in the 18 hole.
    I really like Valimaki out of the WHL… Big and drives to the net , tremendous upside.

    Yes, it is no secret the Leafs are desperate for a quality defenseman or 2 .
    I am just not sure who that person might be, or what the package might evolve!?!
    Any thoughts!

    • Depends upon how patient you are because ANY D taken in this draft, regardless of what slot they’re picked, is at least 3 years away and probably 4 before you see them in the NHL.

      As several pundits have observed, if St. John D Jean Chabot was in this year’s draft he’d be the runaway # 1 and the only D to be a sure bet to land a starting role in the NHL next season.

      • Thomas Chabot – lol – showing my age with that other Chabot!

    • Toronto`s scouts spent a lot of time following Foote around. It does seem that they will take a defenceman or two this year early in the draft. Like George says tho, none of this years defenseman appear to be close to making the jump. There could be a lot of movement in the draft order this year with it being a much weaker draft.

  8. Again regarding the Leafs
    I am well aware of a player, most likely a defenseman, taken in the draft will not step into the NHL.

    My thought process , who the Leafs will trade for this off season .
    There is no doubt they will make a move in this direction to fill a “huge” hole in the back end .

    The trade Edmonton made for Larson was imperative , and we are all witnessing what is happening now.

    Can the Leafs pull a similar transaction this summer, without a major cost factor .
    JVR… Yes… Nylander.. Definitely..NO

    • except JVR will NOT land you a Larsson equivalent.

      • I don’t think it’s as far off as that.

        I guess it’s how much you value Larsson, but I see him as a young 2nd pairing defensmen with pretty limited upside. He is never going to be an elite shutdown guy, or put up good offensive numbers. The 5 years remaining on his deal for a fair cap hit do have value though. He cost a lot last year because he was not someone who was on the trade market, so a seller’s market got paid a big premium. You can’t really place Larsson’s trade value last year as a comparison since there will be teams looking to trade a defensemen this year so the prices will become more reasonable.

        I see the list of guys that could potentially be available as Manson, Vatanen, Savard, J. Johnson, Brodin, Scandella, Ellis and Methot.

        Of that group I expect that somewhere between 4-6 of them will be traded, and the only ones in that group who’s value should be less than Larssons today (should larsson also be available) would be Methot and J. Johnson.

        So that means there is a decent chance that multiple defensemen with values greater than Larrsson will be traded, but I don’t think it will come at costs greater than Hall, or for that matter even as much as.

      • Danny. Larsson is an elite shut down Dman now. He was the previous season in NJ as well.

      • Danny, Larsson and Klefbom – their first pairing – is easily one of the main reasons why the Oilers are where they are in the playoffs. In his past 5 games he has logged 21:13, 18:47, 26:10; 26:39, 22:34 chipping in with 2 goals and 2 assists. At 24 y/o and 6′ 3″ 215 lbs make no mistake – he is a Top 2 D. It took one of the leagues top wingers to get him.

    • While I think it is important that the Leafs are very involved in trying to get a defensemen, I don’t think you want to over reach and over pay.

      Larson has fit in well in Edmonton, but he is far from the biggest reason that Edmonton improved as much as they have. Healthy McDavid, Healthy Klefbom, a bounce back year from Talbot did a vast majority of the work getting the Oilers where they are.

      The Leafs need to be careful not to overpay for a Defensemen, and I do think this is a year where the prices should be more attractive as there are more teams that will feel like they must trade a defensemen. Not saying they will be cheap, just more reasonable.

      It will be an odd year for trades, as certain asset types will have virtually no value going back. For instance, if the Leafs did trade for a D, they would likely be up for including Carrick going back, however any team trading D is doing so because they can’t protect the players they have which would give Carrick virtually no value in the same deal.

      • I really think the Lamoriello “magic” has run its immediate course. The “magic” to get Matthews was to finish dead last and keep your fingers crossed that you win the lottery. Now they are back to drafting somewhere in the bottom third of the pack so it becomes more of a crap-shoot. And filling perceived holes on D is going to take more than getting lucky in any draft – yes he can pick up better depth-type D through trades without giving up one of the young F – but if they are hunting about for a bona-fide Top 2 slap-shooting high-scoring D-man with better than average defensive capabilities (Shattenkirk is NOT that man) he’s not going to get one by dangling lesser lights and picks.

  9. Drouin for Theodore and an exchange of second round for a third round type thing this year’s draft……As in most team sport, Defence and depth of defence is suppose to win you championships.

    • Theadore is draft exempt so it is extremely unlikely he gets traded.

      More likely to be Vatanen or Manson.

      • Agreed. Vatanen makes thee most sense as theodore or Montour can replace him. None of those 3 play the game Manson plays. More a shut down hard to play against Dman.

  10. McDavid is a huge reason the Oilers have improved true but Klefbom has had a relatively injury free year and come into his own and in large part because he play’s with a phenomenal defence partner in Larson.Who is awesome defensively and creates lot’s of open ice through his grit and smart’s!
    Hall will truely enjoy playing with a right handed centre in Patrick should New Jersey select him!

    • It started with the acqusition of Sekera as a UFA, the health & emergence of Klefbom & addition of Larsson. Edm’s D is a huge reason for Edm’s success. As is McDavid & all the added toughness in Lucic, Maroon & Kassian.

      Edm is not a fun team to play against. They play to punish, are now pretty reliable defensdsively & can score.

      As much as it hurts my playoff pools would love to see Edm go deep. Due to injury I haven’t used my Edm tickets. Tonights sold for 750 each.