NHL Rumor Mill – May 17, 2017

by | May 17, 2017 | Rumors | 45 comments

The Minnesota Wild could be getting trade calls about Nino Niederreiter and Mikael Granlund.

Latest on the Wild, Oilers, Islanders, Flames and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman reported teams are inquiring into the trade status of Minnesota Wild winger Nino Niederreiter. There’s also speculation they could listen to offers for Mikael Granlund. Both are restricted free agents this summer and the Wild are pressed for salary-cap space. Given the club’s logjam on defense, Matt Dumba’s name could also come up. Wild general manager Chuck Fletcher said he’s actively listening on everything. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The StarTribune.com’s Michael Russo also reports Fletcher is listening to offers, acknowledging there could be a change or two to his roster. Russo noted the Wild GM remains committed to re-signing Niederreiter and Granlund. However, the Wild are likely to lose a quality player in next month’s expansion draft. Fletcher’s also received calls about Charlie Coyle and Jonas Brodin.

It sounds as though Fletcher isn’t simply looking to free up cap room but also wants improve his roster. He’s not looking at a simple salary dump here. If he makes a trade it could come before he has to submit his expansion draft protected list on June 17. Given their blueline depth they’ll likely lose a defenseman to Vegas, but Fletcher could opt to move one before the draft. 

Friedman also wonders about possible offseason moves by the Capitals, suggesting head coach Barry Trotz’s future isn’t secure. Trotz has a year remaining on his contract. He also notes the club has “significant roster choices” and must make an honest assessment of captain Alex Ovechkin. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As I’ve said before, trading Ovechkin needs the approval of team owner Ted Leonsis. If he’s against it, Ovechkin won’t be going anywhere.

The St. Louis Blues claim there won’t be many changes to their roster, but Friedman suggests they could use more scoring depth. He thinks they’d be a good destination for Edmonton Oilers winger Jordan Eberle. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Plenty of trade speculation dogging Eberle since the Oilers were eliminated last week from the playoffs. However, Terry Jones of the Edmonton Sun reports Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli seems to be pumping the brakes on that chatter. He’s saying there’s no blockbuster deal comparable to last summer’s Taylor Hall-for-Adam Larsson swap.

Despite Eberle’s struggles in the playoffs, Chiarelli said he liked how he performed in the regular season and pointed out this was the winger’s first appearance in the playoffs. Meanwhile, TSN’s Bob McKenzie suggests Eberle’s salary ($6 million per season) and playoff struggles hurts his trade value. 

Friedman could see the Detroit Red Wings having interest in New York Islanders defenseman Calvin de Haan. The Isles risk losing de Haan in the expansion draft. He also wonders if they might make a “hard push” for winger Ilya Kovalchuk. Russian sources claim Kovalchuk is interested in joining the Rangers but Friedman isn’t sure of their interest or if they could land him if they wanted to. The Florida Panthers may have also inquired about Kovalchuk. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk lining up alongside John Tavares could provide the Isles with a strong offensive punch. However, we don’t know if Kovalchuk wants to join the Isles or if they’re even interested in chasing him. 

CALGARY SUN: With Ben Bishop and Scott Darling out of the free-agent market, Eric Francis examines possible goaltending options for the Calgary Flames. The most obvious trade option is Pittsburgh’s Marc-Andre Fleury but he won’t come cheap, especially with his stock soaring thanks to his strong performance in this year’s playoffs. Francis speculates that “the asking price would include several top prospects and/or a significant young roster player.”

Trade options could include the Rangers’ Antti Raanta, Washington’s Philipp Grubauer, Arizona’s Mike Smith, Detroit’s Jimmy Howard or Petr Mrazek, Carolina’s Cam Ward, Buffalo’s Robin Lehner or Florida’s James Reimer. Pending UFAs include Ryan Miller, Mike Condon, Steve Mason or Jonathan Bernier. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Not a lot to choose from here. Fleury seems the best option but he also has to agree to accept a trade to the Flames. Raanta, Grubauer and Condon are solid backups but they’ve yet to prove themselves as starters.

Smith is aging, carries an expensive cap hit ($5.6 million) as well as a full no-trade clause. Howard also has an injury history while Mrazek’s been inconsistent.

Mason’s been plagued by both issues in his career. Miller and Ward are past their prime. Bernier has starter experience but he could be best suited for backup duty. 



  1. Francis is out to lunch on the cost of Fleury. Pittsburgh has limited to no other trade options than Calgary and if they play hardball, may have to buy Fleury out to keep Murray (I highly doubt it would come to a buyout). Also, Raanta and Grubauer are other alternatives in trade, which may be more appealing to Calgary given their age.

    The likely scenario is a 2nd round pick and maybe a B prospect. It won’t require a bunch of top prospects.

    • Exactly. The writer does not appear to follow the league he is writing about.

      Goalies in general do not have a ton of trade value. Not sure why, but its true.

      Who was the last goalie to be traded for a ton of assets?

      It does not happen and it sure as heck is not happening with the Pens and Fleury. Pens have absolutely no leverage. Calgary can sit back and play hardball and force to Pens to buy him out if necessary. What are they going to do, expose Murray?

      Maybe in this climate he is worth a 2nd rd pick, but prob would have to be in the 2017 draft..

      Flyers got a 2 and two 4s for Bob. Canucks got 1 1st rounder for Snider. Both were young promising goalies in much better situations. Can’t see how Pitts gets more than 1 2nd rounder.

      • I hear what you guys are saying about the value of MAF. It is impossible to argue against it. While MAF would be an upgrade for multiple teams (He is a proven #1 with a cup, and now another strong playoff run), I just don’t see other teams that can make this deal work/make sense before expansion other than Cgy.
        Having said that, other deals could happen prior that bring another suitor. All you need is one more team to play.
        Whether intentional or not, Calgary is in a great position as it sits today. When you consider how important goal tending is in the playoffs, and how badly Calgary needs it. However, if they end up getting scooped….
        JR is pretty cagey.

      • You are right about their trade returns for sure and have to go all the way back to 1995 and the Patrick Roy deal. Even then, he returned only Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko after the Habs dealt him to Colorado – AND they had to toss in captain Mike Keane!

        Thibault never got untracked in Mtl before going to Chicago in the 1998-99 season, while Kovalenko played just 51 games in a Mtl uniform (17g 17a) before heading off to Edmonton. Only Rucinsky put up some good numbers with 134 goals and 163 assists in 6 seasons with the Habs.

      • The only other deals involving a goalie that involved something marginally significant was the trade of Pascal Leclaire and a 2nd round pick to Ottawa from Columbus for Antoine Vermette.

        The pick turned out to be Robin Lehner who was then dealt in 2015 with Legwand to Buffalo for the 21st overall pick in that draft which turned out to be top C prospect Colin White – so the Sens did alright there overall.

    • Even before car and Dallas got out of the market that’s a no way on the price. With few options for teams prior to expansion maf has less value than he is actually worth. Now if gmjr made a deal with Vegas and still has both goalies after expansion then Marc’s value rises but even close to that.

    • The likely scenario is the Marc becomes a Golden Knight and in exchange for not trading him elsewhere the Pens get a backup goalie Vegas takes in the expansion draft, like Raanta, Hutton, Montoya or if Vegas eats salary, Cam Ward.

      Yeah, the Pens could trade him to another team, but then they lose a Cole or a Maatta or a Dumoulin or a Rust, so short of being blown away by an offer for MAF…letting him go to Vegas is the same as getting one of the above in trade for him.

      • I don’t see Vegas selecting any of those goalie in expansion. Dumoulin & Maatta will be protected with Schultz & Letang.

        If MAF agrees to waive & isn’t traded I assume Vegas would select him.

  2. Nino, Granlund, ovechkin are not going anywhere.

    I like to see Fluery in Calgary but not for the suggested assets in the above article. He can be had with a reasonable prospect and 2nd Rd I think, given Pens will have to consider a buy out if no trade materializes.

    • No team is positioned worse for the expansion draft than Minnesota today. Who do you see them protecting for the expansion draft? With Pominville’s NMC does Minnesota buy out his 2 years remaining on his contract so as not have to protect him?

      If Minnesota doesn’t make at least 3 trades Pre expnasion draft they are losing a very good player & 1 of them may well be Niederreiter unless 1 of those 5 Dman are on the board.

      • Completely agree with Striker. If Minnesota protects 4D/4F, they expose multiple very good forwards plus one of Brodin, Scandella or Dumba. If they protect 7F/3D, they will expose one of Staal, Coyle, Granlund, Niederreiter or Zucker and two of Brodin, Scandella or Dumba. All of these players are too good to let go for nothing.

        Minnesota would need to trade 2D and 1F to not be largely exposed in the 7F/3D option or 1D, buying out Pominville AND trading 1 or 2 forwards in the 4F/4D scenario. It is tough trading two good defenseman, but that may be a better option in their case given the forward they could lose in expansion.

      • Absolutely Striker and Van. Minnesota is probably set up the worst pre-expansion. My guess is they will not lose a forward however if Brodin/Dumba are available for Vegas at D without any additional trades/agreements in place

        Minnesota is the team to attack if you are one of the other GM’s around the leagu

      • True that boys. Just throwing this out there:
        Minny has 2 options – trade multiple pieces for players you don’t have to protect. Meaning young. Other GM’s will be tossing anvils, not lifelines and many teams will need them to pick up salary or take it back.
        Seems like an almost impossible task if you are in win now mode, which Minny is.
        Or – just stand pat, lose 1 player, save some cap space, and move on.

      • Vatrano and picks for Brodin?
        Vatrano and picks for Coyle?

      • I can’t see Minny taking 2-3 players off their roster for excempt players or picks to avoid losing a solid player to Vegas. Too big of a step backwards.

        They will likely lose one of their D man and Minny may negotiate with Vegas on which gets selected by throwing in an extra asset (prospect or 3 / 4 Rd pick).

      • If Brodin is available no way Vegas is passing on him & taking say Scandella for the addition of a 3rd or 4th round pick. & if a prospect of which minnesota has a ton it would have to be 1 of the big 5.

  3. Cannot see the Devils trading Kovalchuk’s rights to Isles or Rangers. Unless it is an overpayment

    Vegas with his current teammate makes the most sense

    • And thank god if they don’t! Why on earth would NYRs want him? They need another winger like they need a hole in the head. Especially an aging winger removed for years from the NHL.

      • with you on that one. Kovalchuk to NYR makes no sense. Then again, neither did Bishop to LA
        But yeah, Rangers don’t need Kovalchuk

      • But he still can bring some quality, depends on the price

      • Can he still bring quality? That’s a huge question mark? Either way, unless we’re talking a 3rd or 4th rounder, the price is way too high for a guy NYRs don’t need. Even if they lose a winger in expansion, they still have Kreider, Miller, Zuccs, Grabner, Vesey, Buchnevich etc. kinda logjam already. Any asset wasted on anything other than an upgrade on D is just a wasted asset. Not to mention precious cap space.

      • You mean like Jagr? Rangers could actually use a pure sniper. 3-39 PP in playoffs? Look at roster. What logjam. We have 3 or 4 guys that probably won’t be back. Getting Kovulchuk, who has been playing at a high level in Russia and is only 2 years older than Nash, is a no brainer. Depending on price, I wouldn’t give much for him, getting him for a couple years while Lundquist is still serviceable should be looked into at the least

    • Vegas has no assets; not gonna happen

      • Vegas has draft picks & by the time Kovy is elligable to sign, no sooner than July 1st with NJ, Vegas will have made it’s expansion draft selections.

        That said I don’t see Kovy choosing to go to Vegas.

  4. Kovalchuk to Ducks or Sharks. Like ds said above I can’t see Devils too interest in trade within their division and I don’t see a fit in the Atlantic for team that Kovalchuk would want to play for (maybe Habs if Radoluv can’t be resigned but there focus will be bringing in a Center).

  5. All Chia is doing here is ‘he may be for sale but you can’t him’ game with Eberle. I think everyone knows that given the chance Chia is jumping on the first reasonable offer he gets

    • He would jump just as quickly at trading RNH as well in my opinion. He let Hall go; and just for the record I was in favor of that move right from the start. The moment Edmonton won the draft for McDavid you knew they were going to do more than just retool. Shero is a shrewd manager as well and I think both teams will benefit from this trade over the long haul (no poun intended).

      • no pun intended! sheesh

      • I listened to a good chunk of that press conference on the local radio. I don’t think he will move RNH, and he isn’t likely to give away Eberle, although I think he will try and move him aggressively. PC doesn’t have any cap issues until next off season, so no rush. He needs to keep RNH for flexibility, which means being able to play Draisaitl with McDavid if required and when required to generate offense. The Oil have no prospects at center, and in reality have no #1 RW if they move RNH and have to play Draisaitl at center. Puljujarvi will get every opportunity to start the year with Edmonton, but it is difficult to go into next year with a raw rookie as your #1 RW. Maybe next year.
        Eberle and McDavid did not mesh at all, and the head coach has made it clear that he is not his top line RW by the way he was deployed.

      • No RW? I hear Yakupov might be available cheap!

      • Ha Ha, that would be priceless. I wanna go on another Yakupov is brutal rant, but I have probably done that enough on here.
        Did I mention that 9 of the 10 scouts wanted Mac T to draft Murray? Oh yeah Lowe stepped in and forced him to take Yak. Thankfully those days are gone.

      • Tambellini was GM for that draft. Same brutal story though. How Kevin Lowe has kept any position with the Oilers is shocking. Most inept management the NHL may have ever seen in the modern era.

      • John Ferguson Jr was the worst in my opinion, then again, I’m a biased Leafs fan

      • I just read the article George.
        Even after that I maintain JFJ was atrocious.
        The article spews excuses. It tries to explain his worst moves, but the problem is that there were absolutely no good moves made by him that I remember.

  6. Bruins do not need another D man they have a solid group right now. Chara Krug McQuaid both Millers Carlo MaCavoy and a few other good young guys. Boston needs one more solid winger but for the first 2 months I would try either Debrusk or Senshyn.

    • They will lose one of the Millers or McQuaid to expansion

      • SH21, agree that they will lose McQuaid or Miller. Only other wild card is Subban as a tender, but he isn’t even starting in Providence in the playoffs as McIntyre has been too good. Could be worth a flier as he has real talent and they need 3 and will pickup plenty of # 4 D.
        Obe – Would bet on Debrusk getting a real shot to start the year, he has been playing great over the last 30 games and is leading Providence in shots in the playoffs. Senyshyn needs some seasoning methinks. Providence should have already knocked out Hershey. They are tied 3 – 3 and every loss was OT. Out shooting them a ton, like lopsided for a few games. Considering the youth down there, it is a positive sign! need to get to the next round.

  7. I am sure I will be blasted but would the Islanders look to make a pitch to Pitts for MAF? With years remaining perhaps a Halak, DeHaan and mid level pick?

    Halak only one year left and not trade clauses to block him being exposed nor is he signed long term. DeHaan can replace Streit, Hainsey or Daley.

    Islanders get a solid #1 goalie to show good faith to JT in their upcoming contract extension negotiations.


    • Pitt couldn’t protect De Haan. NTC’s don’t proclude you from being exposed in the expansion draft just NMC’s unless the player agree’s to waive it.

      If De Haan is on the board Vegas will select him. He would fit their needs perfectly.

  8. Islanders send their 1st rd draft pick and grabovski to nj for their 2nd rd and kovalchuck along?
    Jt can then line up with Lee and Kovy.

  9. Robin Lehner isn’t going anywhere. Improve the defense, reduce shots on goal and give the guy a chance.

    • I like Lehner as well & agree with you.

  10. JFjr did make a few good late picks like Komorov, Kulimen, and Reimer. If memory serves me properly he also did not have a lot of early picks because of the trade deadline deals. Everyone in Canada thought Pogge was the second coming of Johnny Bower so who cares about some Finn? Some of the stories that have surfaced indicate he was second guessed and directed by some internal politics. I liked what Quinn had going but the salary cap took away his type of system.

    If TO is smart to try for Dumba. They have lots of assets that don’t have to be protected in the expansion draft that would interest the Wild. If not Dumba then Manson.

    Maybe Pitts should put Murray on the market? He seems to be injury prone anyway. Fleury is good for a couple years and they have some excellent prospects that will be ready when the current core is ready to move on or retire.

  11. Rangers should look to deal Stepan for Dumba