Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – April 9, 2017

by | Apr 9, 2017 | Rumors | 49 comments

Re-signing John Tavares is among the offseason issues facing the New York Islanders.

Latest on the Islanders, Kings & Coyotes plus some coaching speculation in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup. 

NEWSDAY/NEW YORK POST: Arthur Staple and Larry Brooks examine the potential changes in store this summer for the New York Islanders. Both wonder if general manager Garth Snow and interim coach Doug Weight will return.

They also note the club can open contract talks on July 1 with captain John Tavares, who’s eligible in 2018 for unrestricted free agency. It remains to be seen if he’ll agree to a long-term extension or adopt a wait-and-see position for next season.

Questions about their goaltending trio of Jaroslav Halak, Thomas Greiss and J-F Berube persist. Staple also expects the Isles could try to shore up their forward depth before the June expansion draft and possibly avoid losing a defenseman to Vegas for nothing. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could be time for a management change. Snow’s been in the job 11 seasons now. While the Isles aren’t the laughingstock they were a decade ago, they’re no closer to becoming a Stanley Cup contender.  If so, they should make that move soon to allow time to negotiate with Tavares, address their goaltending mess and make those moves before the expansion draft. Given how well the Isles played for Weight when he took over in mid-January, I think he’s earned the opportunity to take over as their full-time coach. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL:  Jim Matheson believes the LA Kings “absolutely will be shopping one of their second pairing defencemen — Alec Martinez or Jake Muzzin — for scoring help up front next season.” Martinez is 30 in July and better with the puck but Muzzin is two years younger. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Both are left-handed shots and on long-term deals worth $4 million annually. If the Kings intend to move one of them, they could attract interest from the Buffalo Sabres, Detroit Red Wings, Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs. All are in need of experienced blueline depth and have depth to spare in scoring forwards. 

ARIZONA SPORTS: Craig Morgan believes this summer will be crucial for the Arizona Coyotes. While he applauds the club’s stockpiling of young assets, he feels they must explore all avenues this summer if they’re committed to winning. He believes they cannot have another summer of empty salary-cap hits and must address their need for a top-pairing right-handed defenseman and a first-line center.

He suggests the Coyotes target the Anaheim Ducks for address their blueline need. If John Tavares and the New York Islanders reach a contract impasse, he recommends the Coyotes move heaven and earth to acquire him. Failing that, “maybe the Rangers will look to move Derek Stepan or the Oilers will look to move Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Coyotes have the young assets to use as trade bait this summer. The June expansion draft could work to their advantage.I think they have a better chance to improve their blueline than they will in acquiring a top-line center.

 If Tavares and the Isles fail to hammer out a new deal, it would be worthwhile for the Coyotes to explore acquiring him, though they’d also need assurances he’d be willing to re-sign with them. Nugent-Hopkins isn’t a first-line center as he’s more comfortable in a second-line role.

If the Rangers feel they must free up cap space to pursue a defenseman such as Kevin Shattenkirk, maybe they’ll consider moving Stepan. However, it’ll have to be before July 1 as his no-trade clause kicks in then. Still, there’s no certainty the Blueshirts will part ways with him. 

SPORTNET: Elliotte Friedman reports this offseason could see a significant number of coaching changes in the NHL. He said Vegas Golden Knights general manager George McPhee reached out to London Knights coach Dale Hunter to see if he’d be interested in becoming Vegas’ bench boss but Hunter declined. Friedman expects the Florida Panthers could look at Jim Montgomery of the University of Denver or former Edmonton Oilers coach Dallas Eakins. Kelly Hrudey hears Darryl Sutter might not be back with the Los Angeles Kings, citing concerns over the Kings ability to play a speedier game. 

VANCOUVER SUN: Ben Kuzma wonders if Willie Desjardins will return next season as coach of the Vancouver Canucks. He points out there was no vote of confidence from management this season, citing instead injuries and a tough year. Kuzma suggests there’s a feeling that change is at hand. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We could find out later this week when the first of the coaching changes begin for some of this year’s non-playoff clubs. The Panthers have already indicated that interim coach Tom Rowe won’t be returning behind the bench next season. 



  1. If Tavares fails to re-sign with the Islanders I seriously doubt he’ll sign with the Coyotes. Both teams are floundering wrt direction, arena, long-term viability in their current market etc. It would be a frying pan to the fire situation.

  2. The play of rookie Paul LaDue has made Alec Martinez expendable. When he was called up, Marty went to the third pairing. 4M a season for a third pairing guy won’t work in the salary cap era. Put that contract on top of Gaborik and Browns deals and I think Marty gets traded.

    • Ladue hasn’t replaced Martinez & if he might be capable of it he is years from being able to do so. In the Kings last 10 games Ladue has played 8 games cracking 15 mins played 3 times. Martinez has cracked 20 mins 7 times, 23 mins 4 times & has 2 others just under 20. He has 1 game where he played less than 19 mins but never played less than Ladue in any.

      He’s the LA Kings #3 Dman & isn’t being traded nor is Muzzin the Kings #2 Dman. Both these D have very team friendly contracts both in salary & term, Martinez 4 more years & Muzzin 3 both at 4 mil per. LA will look else where to address their scoring issues. Free agency being 1 of the few options available to them as their prospect kitty is bare having bought assets for cup runs.

      What you see is what you get. You don’t trade good solid top 4 Dman for forwards unless you have no choice. See Edm/NJ trade. Moving Larsson has added 34 goals to their goal differential from last year & made them significantly worse. Last Season NJ’s goal differential was minus 24 they finished 12th in the East. They sit minus 58 this season with 1 game to go & dead last in the East by a significant margin.

      That’s why you don’t trade solid NHL Dman unless confronted with no choice or an offer to good to refuse. Halls 20 goals & 53 points did little to help NJ’s cause.

      • Striker just to clarify, r u saying all what’s wrong with NJ is that they traded Larson for Hall?

      • No of course not but trading for Hall didn’t make them better it made them worse just as I said it would & took serious flack for from the usual suspects.

        Little else changed from last seasons roster.

      • I dont think Jesey would have played any better with Larsson in and Hall out. they were weak up and down the line up and traded for a better player… weakening them in one place and strengthening in another. Move has long term thinking involved… now if only they would trade schneider and get the rebuild fully on! blackwood will be there in a few years.. so will the top 5 picks they rack up over the next couple.

      • Sorry Striker I have to disagree with you on this one. Martinez will be moved in the offseason to get help for the Kopitar line.

        while I agree that you normally don’t trade solid d for scoring, in LA’s case they can’t afford to see Kopitar have another sub-par year at his cap hit. They will 100% be looking to get him line-mates that are actual top line quality, not Lewis, Brown, etc. The only way this happens is via trade, as they have nothing in the pipeline and can’t afford anything in free agency unless they miraculously trade Brown and/or Gaborik (buyouts are not an option on those contracts either).

        As for Ladue, LA is VERY high on him and had many offers this year for his services around the league. He is considered untouchable, think of him as our Mcavoy/Carlo. He will be the reason that Martinez is expendable.

  3. Gonna be an interesting off season. Neither RNH nor Stepan help Arizona.. they need a top line center not number 2’s. Course unless they draft them it will be hard to convince anyone to go there currently. Could be a good time to acquire defensive help… minny, isles, ana, la all might need to move a d-man.

    • So will Ottawa with the emergence of 6’6″ Ben Harpur and the arrival next season of John Chabot.

      Unless one gets drafted by Las Vegas, they’ll have Methot-Karlsson, Phaneuf-Ceci, Borowiecki-Wideman along with Harpur, Chabot, Claeson, Andreas Englund and Jyrki Jokipakka all pushing for time in the 5/6 pairing. Something’s gotta give.

      • Wow! Great problem to have in Ottawa.
        Tons of skilled players around.
        Glad to see Clarke playing again as well.

      • problem is trade value. solid d for ott but not a lot of those guys have significant trade value due to contracts or terms or consistency…. cept karlsson but duh.

      • I’d be shocked if Ottawa didn’t go the 7F, 3D route and lose Methot. With a Chabot and Harper coming up next year, they could absorb that better than losing Brassard, Smith or Pageau. Turris, Hoffman and Stone are locks to protect at forward and they would probably keep Pageau as the fourth.

        In addition, it would look horrible losing Brassard to expansion after giving up Zibanejad and a 2nd one year earlier.

      • All Borowiecki has done is lead the league in hits with 362 – 65 better than the second guy – Matt Martin of the Leafs – while registering a respectable -3 over the season. Wideman, meanwhile, has chipped in with 5 goals and 12 assists while registering a +6. Every team needs a decent 5/6 pairing – especially teams like Colorado, Arizona, New Jersey and Vancouver – and that’s what these 2 have given Ottawa.

        No, neither will bring back a king’s ransom – but they aren’t exactly slugs either either. The thing is, there’s no room on the D for them IF Harpur and Chabot make it out of training camp.

      • Ceci and Methot would have a lot of value on the trade market, especially Ceci. As George said, Wideman and Borocop would be worth atleast a mid round pick. Good third pairing defensemen that could be pushed out by Ottawa’s depth (Chabot, Claessen and Harper emerging). Ottawa should be a good team for years to come.

      • exactly george. assets that can be traded but not for a whole lot. hits can be a deceiving stat… hitting is only good if it separates the man from the puck without taking you out of position. i wont pretend to have watched enough ott games to know if thats the case with him.

  4. The Canucks would be foolish to fire Willie.
    He got plenty out of that line up.
    Both him and Peters in Carolina are going to shine with better rosters to work with.

    • I would question several of his player personal decisions. Burring Vrbata well before the start of the 2014-15 playoffs & the entire following season, playing Weber over Bieksa in those same playoffs.

      His deployment of young players, Baertschi, Horvat, Tryamkin, etc. All should have been brought along faster & given better playing opportunity far sooner. Sitting Virtanen & McCann, perhaps he was told he had to keep them having them in the NHL & not playing them was stupid & may have killed Virtanen ever developing into anything of value at the NHL level.

      • Vertanen is a total bust. Vancouver needs to learn how to draft better.

  5. I don’t think Arizona has any intention of trading for a #1 C. They aren’t ready to compete for a playoff spot. They are in the middle of a rebuild, what stage who knows. It’s hard to peg when it started, it seems perpetual.

    Dvorak & Strome are their future #1 & 2 C’s. Richardson, Burmistrov, Holland, Dauphin & Macinnis are all C’s. Keller will deployed as a winger apparently at least early in his career.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to see Hanzal return like Vermette did but he’s not a #1 either not even a #2 really but all are placeholders till Strome is ready. Dvorak is ready to be a #2 now & like Strome has #1 potential.

    Arizona has 5 picks in the 1st 3 rounds this year holding an extra 1st & 3rd, plus boat loads of cap space. A #1 C like say a Stepan isn’t making Arizona a playoff team, this team is far to young & it’s veterans not of sufficient quality to get Arizona into the top 8 in the west next season.

    Arizona is very well positioned for the expansion draft & could easily trade for 1 of the solid Dman Anh, Clb, Min, NYI & Win all might have available. Arizona’s is well set up to protect 8 skaters if they can secure such a Dman.

    I can’t wait for the summer. It should be very interesting & hopefully exciting.

    • #1 C’s aren’t something you can just trade for. Some teams get lucky that one is available (Seguin), but it’s extremely rare. Tavares may move somewhere this summer, but he will have his choice of team, and there will only be a handful that tick enough of the boxes. Needs to be a contender or team on the rise, they need the cap space, and it has to be a place he wants to play.

      I think your assessment is right as well, Arizona would be better served at using assets to try and get a good asset we know should be available like a good D, rather than trying to force a trade for a #1 C, and either over paying, or overvaluing a #2 guy.

      • I see Tavares signing a long term, 8 year deal at Stamkos monies or very close to them on July 1st or soon after with NYI.

        What ailed NYI in large part was coaching & his unwillingness to use Lee as a #1 LW & PP option. Once that switch was made & he made it before Weight took over but 30 games to late NYI started playing far better.

        NYI has a ton of youth coming, the young players already in the NHL will all get better. Lee, Strome, Nelson, Price, Quine & Beaulivier. Injuries aren’t an excuse but were a factor. Losing Boychuk & Hamonic for such significant periods hurts.

        This is a good team with 1 or 2 holes that need to be filled. They can be filled internally or as the face losing Pulock or De Haan perhaps they trade a Dman before expansion to secure a #2 RW.

    • if stepan is your number 1 then you are in trouble… 16 goals this year? if they target anyone maybe johnson in tampa… also not really a number one but maybe the best center possibly available.

  6. With the way the expansion draft is setting up, I think that there will be a handful of good defensemen available just due to protection issues.

    Who do you guys think will be the best value defensemen either moved or that could conceivably be moved because of the squeeze created by the expansion draft?

    • brodin or scandella.

      fowler or manson

      muzzin, forbert, martinez?

      de haan?

      schultzx or maatta?


      best d man I see being moved isnt even due to expansion but faulk for a top line forward is possible.

      • I was looking mainly at D-men moved because of expansion, and also overall best value.

        I think it could be Manson, good contract for next year, and he is still an RFA. Also, he is very good defensively but doesn’t rack up PP points so they tend to demand less on the open market so I think there could be huge value in a guy like that. Capable of top pairing 5 on 5 minutes, without the big price tag.

      • Enstrom has a nmc we would have to waive that first.

  7. To the many Toronto fans that post here. Congratulations on a great season & making the playoffs. I had Toronto dead last in the east this year & didn’t see more than 3 rookies making this team to start the year, Matthews, Nylander & Zaitsev.

    Toronto was incredibly fun to watch this season & moving forward, the emergence of those mentioned above as well as Marner who I thought was to small to play this year, Hyman & Brown was shocking. Hyman & Browns penalty killing ability as rookies has amazed me.

    I expected Matthews to be a stud but never perceived he had 40 goals in him as a rookie, 32 at even strength! Should Toronto get 1 point today & secure Ottawa in the 1st round, they could make a run to the conference final potentially. Unfortunately that comes at the expense of my Bruins drawing Washington not a team anyone should want to play.

    Congratulations & well done, what a great time to be a Leafs fan.

    • 2nd in 13 years was a stat that surprised me. What I love is that Canada’s team is back in the playoffs on the backs of a world wide effort. Led by an American, supported by russians and Swedes… Toronto is truly a team that showcases the amazing worldwide growth of the game. Which is cool because Toronto is such a nice multicultural city. Love that town.

    • YA Depending on the out come of the Toronto Columbus game…I think who ever of the 2 Toronto or Boston…who ever gets to play Ottawa in the first round runs to the conference final. Here’s hopin’ Toronto gets a least a point today. would love to see Boston have to take on Washington.

      • Neither Boston nor Toronto are beating the habs, the habs are just to deep. Boston and torontos d is too suspect to win in the playoffs

      • @Bigbear Boston is ofor against Toronto, Washington and Ottawa. But I rather play Ottawa in the first round. No offense to Ottawa but Boston just stack up better then against Washington, I was much rather stay in the Atlantic, then move to the Metro. I don’t mind the bruins playing Montreal we have won a couple games against them this season.

  8. Nugent-Hopkins at $6 mil is laughable. No one is picking up that deal, same goes for Eberle, without the Oilers picking up a large chunk of the Cap hit.

    Willie Desjardins did a decent job in Vancouver, considering he never had a healthy lineup, and was coaching at bunch of their AHL lineup.

    Tavares could be the key to the Islanders, if they trade him. The return would be huge, with 20 or more teams making pitches.

    The Kings have to find some speed, but the contracts of guys like Brown and Gaborik are anchors no one will take. Adding Iginla to a slow team was comical at best.

    • bad contracts don’t matter if your team is fighting for best team in the division. RNH production would pick up if he was on a first line somewhere but he’s perfectly playing his role in Edmonton and getting paid well to do so…pretty sure the organization doesn’t have a problem with him. with the same group of players Edmonton is just going to be even better next year. Not much to complain about in Edmonton.

  9. First to go Lindy Ruff, didn`t have to wait long for some one to get canned

    • Really? That quick? Man thats Ruff.

    • Show me a good coach and I’ll show you a good goaltender.

      • um… because good coaching makes the goalies job easier? Niemi a good goalie? Or did Quinville do well? howard a good goalie? or did babcock do well?

      • Kinda a dumb comment

      • lol pretty common term I thought people who follow hockey have probably heard before really but…. good goaltending can make an avg coach look good and bad goaltending can cost a coach his job, both of which I would say are applicable to Lindy Ruff.

      • Must be a leaf saying cause it makes no sense lol

      • Caps just won the playoff lottery!!!

  10. I hope Tim Murray heard the news today. Lindy Ruff is no longer coaching the Stars. Time to kick Bylsma to the curb and beg Lindy to come back to Buffalo where he belongs.

    • You’re joking right?
      Lindy has been the luckiest coach in NHL history.
      Terrible tactician.
      Terrible deployment decisions.
      He has a decent win loss record only because he was lucky enough to coach a team who employed Dom Hasek during his prime.
      Lindy should by all means be done coaching in this league.

      • plus he looks like duke phillips from the critic

      • This is also true….irrelevant,but true.

      • and bylsma had credentials? ooohhhh he coached crosby, malkin, jordan staal and talbot in his prime all centers on their lines to a stanley cup….my dog couldve sat behind the bench with the same result. buffalo had no one of value upfront other than peca who was another oreilly defensive center type. sure hasek was the best ive ever seen but give Lindy break that team had a bunch average players upfront until drury and briere were acquired. roy and pominville are decent but werent stars. vanek was their best scorer. zhitnik was under rated for his shut down defenseive ability. regier blew it the one season carolina beat them out in the eastern playoff finals because 75 percent of the defense were hurt and they had bums playing defense due to regiers lack of trades at the deadline that year. ruff coached with what he had….the best goaltender to ever play in between the pipes but an average team up front with a lot of speed. Murray messed up firing ted nolan who couldve gotten everything out of buffalos players unlike bylsma. I just want bylsma out….he doesnt impress me at all and his winning streak in pittsburgh was due to star players he had at his fingertips

      • Ballsma also won the Adams leading an injury decimated team to the playoffs year after year. He has his faults but buff is also built like a pretender.

      • @ Derek.
        I in no way endorsed Disco Dan.
        I believe that he is a terrible head coach.
        Just stating my disdain for Lindy.
        Buffalo deserves better.
        Nice rant though.

    • Ruff had his time to win more with the Sabres. He failed. Why would the Sabres bother returning to one failure when they need to rid themselves of Bylsma’s failure?