NHL Rumor Mill – May 16, 2017

by | May 16, 2017 | Rumors | 68 comments

Could the Calgary Flames or Vegas Golden Knights pursue Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury?

A look at the offseason goalie market and Nail Yakupov’s future in your NHL rumor mill. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman discussing the offseason goalie market with Calgary’s Sportsnet 960, with an emphasis on possible moves by the Calgary Flames.

He believes the Dallas Stars will buy out Antti Niemi if they’re unable to trade him or if the Vegas Golden Knights pass on him in the expansion draft. 

He also cites colleague Nick Kypreos claiming he’s hearing there’s something going on with the Golden Knights and the Pittsburgh Penguins regarding Marc-Andre Fleury, who’s enjoying a strong performance in this year’s playoffs. 

Friedman wonders if Calgary Flames general manager Brad Treliving has any interest in Ottawa Senators pending free-agent goalie Mike Condon. He also speculates about the possibility of Treliving bringing back the tandem of Brian Elliott and Chad Johnson. Friedman also cites a source saying the Nashville Predators are reluctant to trade backup Juuse Saros. 

When asked about New York Rangers backup Antti Raanta, Friedman felt he’d also be a good option for the Flames. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can see the Flames keeping Johnson and looking hard next month for a new starter. Elliott really struggled this season in Calgary. Still, they could bring him back if they cannot find a suitable replacement via trade or free agency.

Fleury going to Vegas would be an interesting development. Most observers (myself included) dismissed that possibility earlier this year, assuming he’d prefer joining a more established playoff contender. Fleury must agree to waive his no-movement clause to become eligible for the expansion draft. He must also agree to a trade if Vegas is looking at going that route.

WINNIPEG SUN: Ken Wiebe examines possible goaltending options for the Winnipeg Jets now that Ben Bishop and Scott Darling are out of the free-agent market. He doubts they’ll trade Connor Hellebuyck or expose him in the expansion draft.

Marc-Andre Fleury’s outstanding postseason play this spring with the Penguins likely rules him out as a trade option as he could become more expensive to obtain. He suggests the Flames could be a good fit for Fleury.

Speaking of the Flames, Wiebe suggests Brian Elliott might be worthwhile for the Jets in a mentor role with Hellebuyck. Other options could include Anaheim’s Jonathan Bernier, Ottawa’s Mike Condon, the Rangers’ Antti Raanta or Washington’s Philipp Grubauer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets are grooming Hellebuyck as their future starter. Someone like Elliott could be worthwhile as a mentor. Bernier, Condon, Raanta and Grubauer, however, see themselves as starting goalie material and could challenge Hellebuyck for that job. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton reports St. Louis Blues right winger Nail Yakupov is determined to remain in the NHL. Yakupov, the first-overall selection by the Edmonton Oilers in the 2012 NHL Draft, is a restricted free agent this summer. He’s struggled to develop into a scoring winger. It’s unlikely he’ll be re-signed by the Blues, who acquired him from the Oilers earlier this season. Clinton lists the Vegas Golden Knights, Chicago Blackhawks, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Los Angeles Kings as possible destinations. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If, as expected, the Blues decline to qualify Yakupov’s rights, he’ll become an unrestricted free agent this summer. He’s completing a two-year, $5 million contract. Any interest club could get him for far less on a one-year deal this summer.  

Most of the clubs on this list carry limited salary-cap space and need affordable scoring depth. The Golden Knights, of course, could select him via the expansion draft.

If TJ Oshie and Justin Williams depart via free agency, the Capitals will need help on the right side. The Canadiens need scoring help but they need more depth at center. 



  1. Even tho Yakapov will probably end up in Vegas, Vegas has too many distractions for him at this point of his career. I think if Yakapov is serious about staying in the NHL and being a reliable player, his best bet might be Toronto. Yakapov meet Babs and Lou. It may not be his only hope, but I actually think right now it`s his best place to fit in

    • I’m fishing here however would like the Habs to take a shot at Yakupov if the price is right. Could be fun to see him and Galchenyuk play together like in juniors.

      • Gerv…agreed Montreal I would also like to see Pittsburgh give him a shot they have done ok with Oiler reclamation projects. This kid is still young, fast and skilled just needs the right fit and system…Would love to see him play with Malkin…

        Malkin could mentor him

        if the price is right…

      • Pit might be a great spot. They could use a cheap 3rd line winger potentially following expansion draft.

    • I highly doubt Toronto would want to take on that burden. Yakupov had tons of potential coming into the league and hasn’t panned out. He screams Alexander Daigle. Let this guy go home to Russia. The KHL seems like the best fit for him.

      • @MikeyJ..I agree..Yak might be best served returning to the KHL and getting his game and confidence back and then try a comeback in a year or two from then

      • I don’t see any space on RW for the Leafs, or center for that matter.
        The Leafs need help on D and LW only, no need to add a depth RW, we have lots of those

      • Well, Daigle did pot 16g 21a in 47gp in his rookie year and 2 years later scored 26 goals and added 25 assists – then in 2003-4 he chipped i with 20 goals/31 assists for Minn/ Not what you’d expect from a # 1 overall, certainly, but if Yakupov can chip in similar numbers somewhere – and on the cheap – he might be worth a shot. I’d offer him 1 year at around $1 mil and say “show me” – and if he responds then talk longer term. If he and his agent are looking for more than that, then keep looking and good luck.

      • I agree George.

      • Right now Babcock is the best teacher to have, look what he’s done with Nylander this past year. This is exactly what Yakapov needs, plus Babs has a really good understanding on how to get the most out of a player. Nylander will move to centre by next year thus opening a spot on the wing. If Babs can get his game going, it’s a steal. Well worth the time and effort

      • A lot of good coaches out there as well as assistants, saying babs is the best is a bit much

      • Bigbadbruins

        I agree. Babcock is a great coach but there are numerous others.

    • Why does vegas have too many distractions? Yak hasn’t had issues off the ice, and alot of players don’t enjoy playing for Babcock so I would think that wouldn’t be a good place for a struggling player

      • Bigbear, you are right about Yakupov. I live in Edmonton and there was never an off ice issue. There has never been a question of his work ethic, the kid works hard. No reports of issues with team mates regarding attitude.
        He just isn’t a good hockey player. Period.
        Rishaug is probably the best local guy reporting on the Oilers and describes him best: “He is like a moth around a light bulb, hard to play with that”
        In junior his skills allowed him to beat players 1 on 1, and focus only on offense. Neither works in the NHL, and he has not been able to adjust. Not even close. Zero hockey sense.
        Will he get it? Anything is possible, but as a contender you can’t risk a roster spot on that gamble.
        Can’t play in your bottom 6, as he does not have that game. Can’t play in your top 6 because he can’t score.
        Vegas? Sure why not. Hope for a miracle.

      • name them? When I say name them, don’t give me 2 or 3 players on Detroit.

      • FD. I don’t think anyone knows who your post is directed at. I don’t. Bigbear?

      • FD, I’m assuming you mean name players that don’t like playing for Babcock?

        It’s been noted before players expressing they don’t like playing for Babcock. You can’t say other than Red Wings – that’s where he spent the majority of his time coaching. Val Filppula blocked a trade so he didn’t have to go to play for Babcock. The Mike Commodore story is well documented, how Babcock swore he wanted him and then buried him. When he did get “playing time” he saw 3 minutes a night until Ken Holland felt bad enough to trade him to Tampa

        Do yourself a favor and check out the Spittin’ Chiclets podcast with Rear Admiral and Ryan Whitney. Commodore makes some guest appearances and shared some first hand experiences dealing with Babcock. Another good listen is when they had Paul Bissonette on who shared a story on Babcock as well

      • FD just go google it, if you like to ignore facts than so be it

      • @SH21 Filuppla went on the air at least twice to state him blocking the trade to Toronto had nothing to do with Babcock. He was worried that Lou would bury him in the minors, but he had no problem playing for Babcock. Besides the list of players that hated Scotty Bowman is a hundred times longer than Babs list, good company

      • SH21, You’ve got a few flaws in your position that Babcock was not liked or good for some of his players. First, Filppula didn’t go to Toronto because he feared becoming buried in the system like other vets like Laich. He was public about that. Any belief to otherwise is just unsubstantiated conspiracy theory talk.

        Also, yes, look at some of the players and the comments they make. The common theme is that he holds them accountable to the same standard as young rookies, which is why he is great for youth but some of the vets feel they should be off the leash and play how they want. Also, there is not a single coach past or present who didn’t have some critics, just maybe not as vocal one like Commodore.

      • Thirsty your points are also flawed, go back and look at his comments when he left Detroit nothing good to say about Babcock. You can believe that he didn’t want to get buried but Babcock was the real reason

    • Watching Babs for all these years that would be a distraction that would take away from the team. Honestly, I feel Yak would be a great fit with a mature room with strong leadership. If he does become a UFA then the Pens could take the chance. What they have turned Justin and Phil into truly amazes me. I would suggest the Hawks and Kings as other opportunities best for the player, if he wants to learn how to thrive in the NHL, taking less to play for those organizations can take him from “bust” to player that can contribute to a team. Value for both short-term and long.

      • unless pens lose a rust/horny in expansion they don’t have room on their right side. horny/rust/kessel currently top 3 righties. if one gets taken maybe they would take a flyer on him

      • Wasn’t StL that team? A veteran squad. Kessel was Kessel before he got to Pit so was Schultz. Schultz scored 8 goals & 27 points in his rookie year the lock out shortened season in 48 games, he followed that up with seasons of 33 & 31 before he got injured to start the following season & got bumped off the #1 PP by Sekera & shipped off to Pitt. Even being a healthy scratch after returning.

        I defended Schultz then, I can only remember 1 other poster here that supported my argument, the rest slagged Schultz & myself. Point of interest. Schultz has 344 NHL regular season games of experience. The best is still to come. I didn’t give up, I drafted Schultz when dropped & he played as my #1 Dman in 1 of my leagues this season, I add dropped him in the other, he’s a keeper in both, always was. 1 bad season doesn’t define a player or his career.

        Players can have off years for a whole range of reasons. Schultz’s in EDM coincided with almost everyone else’s. Duchene is in that same spot in Colorado. No way he’s as bad as his #’s last season. Just a perfect convergence of problems that lead to that season. He will return to historical norms better if moved to a good team.

      • Striker… climbing up on that cross daily on spectors hockey for umpteen years running. I’m sure Schultz appreciated it 😉

      • Yakupov needs to find a place where he plays regular 3rd line minutes with the opportunity to move into a 2nd line role should injures warrant & see 2nd line PP time. No idea what team might give him that role. At 23, 24 when next season starts he has about 2 years left to prove he can play in the NHL. The only reasons he isn’t gone already is his pedigree, that being he was selected 1st overall. This will go done as 1 of the top 3 busts of all time. Certainly the modern era last 30 years.

        Stefan being the biggest in 1998, Daigle 1992 played 616 NHL games putting up 129 goals & 327 points in the dead puck era. Dipietro; 2000, 316 games played, & Berard; 1995, 619 games, 76 goals & 323 points, are right there as is RNH; 395 games, 95 goals & 265 points. Those are the top 6 worst 1st over all picks in the last 30 years.

      • does injury count when deciding the biggests busts? Dipietro and Berard have that in spades. I wouldn’t count them in for that personally because that’s just bad luck… becoming blind in one eye?

      • Agreed Chrisms.

        It isn’t so much that they were busts just those from the last 30 years that didn’t go onto have long prosperous NHL careers. Agreed Dipietro & Berard careers were cut short. That leaves Yakupov & RNH in the top 4 over the last 30 years. Even Daigle’s 616 NHL regular season games puts him miles above the average games played by a player in the NHL.


      • Kessel, regular season:

        Toronto: GP: 446, Points: 394 (0.88 PPG)
        Penguins: GP 164, Points: 129 (0.78 PPG)

        He is just shy of PPG in the playoffs for both Toronto and Pens – not sure what the transformation is?

        Schultz yes, he has truly benefited from playing with the Pens

      • Taz.

        Yes Schultz has benefited from playing for Pittsburgh but he like almost all young players needs to be developed. Having only 5 years of NHL experience & 334 NHL games played he was far from fully developed upon his arrival to Pittsburgh before the trade deadline in 2016. Plus he had the misfortune of playing with the rest of the misfits in EDM.

        Quantity & quality of ice time, individual skill & the skill of those you play with will determine 1’s ability to generate points. As you know my breakthrough point for Dman is 400 NHL regular season games.

        Had Letang not missed 41 games this season would Schultz have gotten this opportunity? As it was he had to wrestle 1st line PP time away from Dailey. I even had a debate on Dobber with Laidlaw about Schultz before he had done so back in Dec. Laidlaw had Dailey I had Schultz.

      • no argument here Striker, You are spot on about Shultz

    • not enough room on the depth chart for a middle six winger in Toronto.. picking them is a tough bet on himself to beat out the other options Toronto has in their system.

      • Most of Toronto’s kids coming up are left winger/centre. Nylander will move to centre eventually leaving a spot on RW and Babs system employs 3 scoring lines. There’s room for him

      • You have Kapanen knocking on the door for that spot if Nylander moves to C. No room at that inn for Yakupov. Bracco & Korshikov in the wings.

        Brown, Marner, Shoshnikov already NHL regulars all as rookies this year on RW.

        Where does Yakupov possibly fit into that rotation. No better on the left side either. Not as crowded but still JvR; I don’t see him moving, Hyman, Komarov, Martin. & still have Leivo, Leipsic etc. Someone will be lsot in expansion but still no room for Yakupov.

      • Yak would be foolish to pick leafs due to depth. Too much middle six depth knocking on door.

  2. MAF price will have little to do with his post season play. there would have to be competition for his services. Their are few options for him to go to and fewer if he wants a competitor. options include Cal, Vegas, Buf, Peg?, Van, Car? right now with only car who just signed darling, peg who has helly, and cal being projected competitors. I have no doubts pens will be able to move a conn smythe candidate if they choose to go that route but it wont be for all that much due to lack of competition… I wager a decent but not great prospect, or 2nd round pick. I would love to see Jankowski come back from Cal for him… though it might take another asset moving with MAF to make that happen… would potentially solve our pending 3rd line center problem.

    • forgot philly…. that would be heart breaking

  3. Yakupov to Vancouver would be interesting if it was a cheap deal. Vancouver needs more talent and speed in their ranks, and Yakupov fits the bill there. Plus, maybe playing a season with the Sedins helps settle his game down? I’d do it if it was a cheap, prove your worth contract….

    • On the right side next to recently acquired Goldobin.

    • Vancouver appears to have fianlly come to their senses & started to rebuild but with numerous veterans in place how does Yakupov fit in Vancouver.

      Baertschi, Hutton, Boeser.
      Sedin, Sedin, Goldobin.
      Granlund, Sutter, Eriksson.

      Move these players around as you wish but this is Vancouver’s top 9 next season no room for Yakupov. For the most part only the RW’s will get flip flopped. Sedin & Sedin aren’t being broken up, nor are Horton & Baertschi.

      • you missed Horvat there.
        I take it that by Hutton you mean Horvat there.

        Hutton might be a nice fantasy pick next week on defense. I have my eye on him for a late pick in my 20 man league

      • He’s hoping they deal him to Boston. LOL

      • Sorry Hutton should be Horvat. Stupid brain block I’m dealing with from this injury at present. Frustrating. I have a very sound appreciation for anyone having suffered repetitive concussions as I have. It’s coming back impact my day to day life as I age significantly.

      • Yes George that would be awesome. Although happy he’s in Vancouver. It’s my closest NHL team & I certainly hoped Vancouver won the cup against Boston. Wasn’t unhappy they didn’t but would have been great for the city, fans & organization.

        Boston is my favorite team but I like many teams & am a hockey pool fan 1st, that means players more than teams. I’ll be happy for anyone of the final 4 teams that win the cup. I have concerns if Ottawa does as this is a copy cat league & the less teams that copy Ottawa the better.

        I didn’t make it thru the 1st period last night before I couldn’t watch it any longer nor will I watch that series moving forward. Far better things to do with my time this time of year than watch that. That isn’t my idea of hockey. No enjoyment what so ever. Happy Pittsburgh found away to get that win though.

  4. Vegas won’t be selecting Yakupov. 1 of Gunnarson, Lindbolm, Lehtera or possibly even Perron depending upon if they choose to protect him or Jaskin will be selected. I’d take Lindbolm. A 23 year old defensive Dman with good size ready to start his NHL career after a few cups of coffee in the NHL over his last 3 years in North America.

    I think we’ll see Vegas take several players like this. Younger players who have been getting seasoned in the AHL & are very close to NHL ready.

    • yessir youth in their lower twenties unless a team exposes a player in his last year of his contract who could be flipped next draft year. fill in the roster with FA on 1 year deals like Yak that also might be able to moved at the deadline. might cost vegas an extra mil or so to attract those guys but they will have the space. take picks for picking bad contracts off teams is another option and picks for not selecting players and you have the assets to build a system over the next three years.

      • I think Vegas uses all of the above & any other scenario’s that might exist. It more depends on what a specific team has available. STL isn’t confronted with losing a great asset. Lehtera isn’t worth the money he’s being paid. Perron only has 1 year to UFA status if even exposed, Jaskin has some appeal as a 3rd line energy player who might have more offense in him but Lindbolm appears to be a future NHL Dman in at least a 3rd pairing role possible nominally better.

        I don’t think Vegas will shun salary. Example. If Ryan in Ott were exposed & Methot wasn’t available I think Vegas would have selected him. That said I never felt Ryan would be exposed just using as an example as other did.

      • After the playoffs he won’t be. I think vegas will be made up of youth and a few vets with most vets coming in fa. I see vegas coming into this draft with no less than 20 picks in the next two drafts. Wait. Amend that. I see them finishing the next two drafts with over 20 picks made. That’s better

    • You know something Striker I think will be surprised by Vegas’s selections and think this will be a favourable destination for players. They could become competitive quickly. And I agree with you that Vegas would be very smart to pick a player like Lindholm….. if he becomes avaialble.

      • put we between think and will….ugggh!

      • These are the least restrictive rules the NHL has ever had for expansion. Vegas will have access to far better talent than in any previous expansion draft. Especially in the catagory like Lindbolm. Young players following a standard development curve to the NHL that have more than 2 years of contractual experience but haven’t become full time NHL players yet. Some of these selections will surprise us as to who these players are, as many of us will have barely heard of them.

        Factor in no other team to muddy the waters in their negotiations with the other 30 teams, this being the 1st expansion draft in the cap world with many teams needing to dump salary & they should be competitive faster. That’s very subjective though.

  5. Nail Yakupov will be going to the KHL.

    • He may well but I think he will get at least 1 more NHL contract possibly 2. Numerous teams are going to have holes following the expansion draft. Numerous do now.

      A 1 year show me deal in the NHL for about a mil seems probable. What’s interesting is I assume he would get far more money in the KHL.

  6. What happens if MAF decides not to waive his NMC. Could Vegas hold up the Pens for a player and a 1st round pick not to pick Murray? This could interesting if other teams can say, get Murray for the Pens and I will give you a 1st.

    • every game Fleury win this post season increases the probability of Murray being the player traded.

      • Taz…. I agree Murray in a short year or so has had three major injuries two leg issues…he may be brittle…

        Also Tristan Jarry and this Swedish kid Gustavson they drafted last year is really good 6 ft 4 and quick.. maybe Matt Murray does get moved…

    • pens wouldn’t give that much to vegas as buying out MAF is worth more to them. It would cost pens an asset but that high an asset as they would choose the buyout route and vegas would be stuck not getting any extra assets… doesn’t make sense for either team. and there is a small chance murray is traded though unlikely. MAF would have to be basically a conn smythe winner, the pens would have to feel comfortable in him being the starter until jarry or gustavson were ready, murray would have to get a solid return, something slightly better than the Schneider return, they would have to be forced by Marc or the market to face buy out with MAF… all these have to occur for murray to be the one moved. it could happen but not likely..

      • Going out & getting a solid starter isn’t that difficult or costly. SJ acquired Jones, Buf Lehner, Tor Andersen, all were acquired for essentially 1st round picks & a prospect or taking on salary. Dubnyk at 3rd, Bishop a 4th, Darling a 3rd; to be seen if he can be a starter, Talbot late 2nd, 3rd & a swap of late picks.

        More than enough goalies to stock 31 NHL teams. You need a starter you can go buy 1 in the off season for a reasonable cost or sign 1 as a UFA potentially. It’s going to keep getting easier as more are coming & the NHL will eventually be a 32 team league for a very long time. At least until it considers adding franchises oversee’s. That’s along way away but sooner or later there will be a European division.

        My point is Pittsburgh doesn’t need to worry what Jerry or Gustafsson may be. You hope they become relevant so they can take over or you can trade them but filling out your net maybe the easiest thing to accomplish in the NHL.

      • Jimmy Howard! Would only cost a 1st and a prospect… haha I kid!

        I would take a 2nd though.

      • To get that contract off the books I’d be happy sending a 2nd with Howard.

    • MAF has a NMC but only a partial NTC. He can be traded.

      But, I think a handshake deal with Vegas might already be in place.

      And I’ve long posited that MAF was the perfect goalie for Vegas. He’s easy going and thrives on a heavy shot volume, so he won’t show up or chew out his teammates if they struggle in their own zone and he’s the most beloved player I’ve ever seen and the perfect person to sell hockey in a new market.

      Going one step further, I believe that he could end up as the teams color guy or postgame host or some capacity post career. He could be the face of hockey in Vegas.

  7. Ken Holland would jump at any opportunity to land a reclamation like Yakupov. Has anyone mentioned Dallas, which may not bring back Hudler, Hemsky or Sharp?

    • Ken Holland loves jumping at all kinds of brutal 1 year deals that have no benefit to the Wings except take a roster from someone who needs it…
      Ott, Miller, Tootoo, Cleary… shall I go on?

    • Well, if they do bring them back I imagine it will be for a helluva lot less than a combined $11,900,000 cap hit!

    • not sure Hitch has any plans for yakupov after he was brutal in St. Louis under him so Dallas would be out.

  8. I really like Toronto’s UFA signing of Dman Borgman today. Had a great rookie season in the Swedish 1st division last year. Just kept getting better. Years away but adds depth to a position in need of prospects for Toronto..

    • @ striker-That’s a stretch he is a B grade prospect at best-undrafted. Every signing Toronto makes under LOu is all of a sudden great.

      • I agree Scott not much upside to borgman what you see in a lesser league isn’t what you get in the NHL 6-7dman at best