NHL Rumor Mill – May 20, 2017

by | May 20, 2017 | Rumors | 19 comments

Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury faces an uncertain future after this season.

Latest on Marc-Andre Fleury and Jimmy Howard plus updates on the St. Louis Blues and New York Islanders in your NHL rumor mill.

TSN: James Duthie and Bob McKenzie recently examined what the future holds for Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury.

Despite his solid performance in the 2017 playoffs, this is likely his last season with the Penguins, as it’s expected they’ll try to move him in order to protect Matt Murray from the expansion draft. However, McKenzie wondered if Penguins GM Jim Rutherford might reconsider if Fleury helps the club win the Stanley Cup or if he’s name playoff MVP.

Still, McKenzie believes the more logical decision will be Fleury’s playing elsewhere next season. Perhaps he’ll agree to waive his no-movement clause and accept getting drafted by the Vegas Golden Knights. Otherwise, the Penguins can try to trade him before the expansion draft, but his modified no-trade gives him control over where he goes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With Murray having taken over since early in Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Final against the Ottawa Senators, most pundits suggest Fleury may have played his final game with the Penguins. Even if he returns to action and carries the Pens to championship glory, I believe Rutherford will trade or buy out Fleury before the expansion draft. There’s some speculation the Penguins could have a deal worked out with Vegas. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently reports the approaching expansion draft casts goaltender Jimmy Howard’s future with the Detroit Red Wings into doubt. He wonders if the Wings could lose Howard to the expansion draft, if the Wings could attempt to trade him or if the veteran returns with Petr Mrazek as Detroit’s goalie tandem next season.

MLIVE.COM: In a recent mailbag, Ansar Khan wondered if former Wings forward Thomas Vanek might have to accept another one-year contract via free agency. If the Wings can get him for one year at $3 million, he’d be fine with it.

Khan lists the Minnesota Wild, Nashville Predators, Anaheim Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and New York Islanders as clubs with potential issues protecting defensemen in the upcoming expansion draft. He points out that Wild blueliner Matt Dumba frequently pops up in trade rumors. If the Predators and Jets decide not to protect four defensemen they could be forced to move one. The Isles could be forced to move Calvin de Haan, who’s rumored to be on the Wings’ radar, while the Ducks could be forced to expose Josh Manson.

A reader asked if the Wings might buy out someone this summer, such as Jonathan Ericsson or Jimmy Howard. Khan doubts they’ll buy out anyone.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see what the Wings do with Howard. Now that Ben Bishop and Scott Darling are out of the free-agent market, Howard could be an enticing trade target for clubs seeking a veteran starting goalie. While he’s only got two years left on his contract, it’s at nearly $5.2 million annually, which could prove unpalatable for some clubs. His injury history and recent consistency issues could dampen his trade value.

Vanek enjoyed his brief tenure with the Wings and I think he’d be willing to return, but they won’t overpay to bring him back. A year at $3 million sounds reasonable.

I expect the Wings will target those clubs at risk of losing a defenseman in the expansion draft in hopes of landing one via trade. It could cost them a top prospect or a promising young player. 

STLTODAY.COM: Addressing 10 offseason questions from readers regarding the St. Louis Blues, Jeremy Rutherford believes they’ll try to tinker with their roster. He wouldn’t be surprised if they look at Tampa Bay’s Jonathan Drouin or Edmonton’s Jordan Eberle, but would be a little surprised if they chase Colorado’s Matt Duchene. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues salary-cap space is also a factor. With over $68 million invested in 20 players for 2017-18 and restricted free agent defenseman Colton Parayko due for a significant raise, they don’t have a lot of room to take on a high-salaried player. They’ll either have to make a salary-dumping move, get a trade partner to retain some salary or attempt to make a dollar-for-dollar swap. 

NEWSDAY: Arthur Staple recently speculated the New York Islanders could retool their defense corps for next season. He notes GM Garth Snow fielded offers last season for Travis Hamonic and wondered if Snow might revisit some of them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: You can’t rule anything out, but I think Hamonic’s trade value isn’t as strong as it was a year ago. Snow could prefer retaining him and instead try moving Calvin de Haan before the expansion draft. 



  1. Ironic… Hamonic demands trade and has more value than now when he doesnt demand trade.

    With the expected 32nd team eventually coming down the line I expect players will find NMC much harder to bargain for in contracts.

    • If there is a 32nd team it better be in Quebec!

      • Yup cause they did a great job previously. No it should be in a city to grow the game. Seattle or San Fran or kc

      • Ya another American team to leech of the Canadian teams? Makes a ton of sense………duh!

      • I think Quebec is more suited to a relocation at this point. When the next expansion process begins, I’d say the league looks at Kansas City, or maybe the league is waiting for someone in Seattle to step forward with a new arena proposal before starting the whole expansion process again. As far as Quebec goes, they should do just like Winnipeg….keep their head down, and play Bettman’s waiting game.

  2. Even though Hamonic had a tough year I think, as a whole it could be more of a team thing than Hamonic, besides this season his numbers, deployment, and minutes all state something completely different than this year. Id love it if he was a target for the Leafs this summer. The exact type of D they should be looking for.

    • I’m sure a lot of teams would make offers to NYI on Hamonic IF it became known that they were willing to listen to offers. But those offers would have to be almost overwhelming before Snow dealt away a 6′ 2″ 205 lb shut-down D who is just 26 y/o with 6 years of NHL development under his belt. Yeah, he had an off year with just 49 gp but still chipped in with 3 goals and 11 assists. Her also has a couple of more years to go at a reasonable $3,857,143 cap hit.

      If Snow traded him it would leave a huge hole on the Islanders D not easily filled and he would then join a dozen more teams in the never-ending search for a big effective D.

      As for his desire to be dealt to a western club early last season, he has since rescinded that now that the family situation has “stabilized.”

      I don’t think he’s going anywhere from a team that just missed making the playoffs after a horrible start to the season.

  3. Is Galchenyuk a solution for the Blues at center? Maybe Perron, Schmaltz, and a 1st?

    Rutherford doesn’t think Duchesne, but I wonder about Tyler Johnson or Ryan Nugent-Hopkins?

    • He obviously isn’t considered a solution at C in Montreal or they wouldn’t keep shifting him to the wing under two different coaches. In any event, it’s going to take significantly more than Perron and a prospect D to land him. Neither is what Montreal is looking for.

    • The blues have a #2 center in stastny and several #3 centers. What they need is a legit #1. Johnson, galchenyuk or duchesne might fit the bill, but not nugent-hopkins. Draisaitl would have been nice to, but that possibility dissipated when Mr. Shat’s went to Washington.

      • Draisaitl is going no where. He looks to be the real deal.

    • If Galchenyuk + is traded a Center better be coming the other way. So I don’t see Blues and Habs trade partners here.

      I like your suggestion on Tyler Johnson to the Blues. Drouin is was rumoured to Blues previously. But not sure Blues have the dman they’d be willing to give up that Tampa will be looking for. Something around Bouwmester and Drouin / Johnson?

      • There is no way a 33 year old Bouwmeester gets you a 22 year old Drouin or a 26 year old Johnson. Bouwmeester is in full decline, and although still a useful player, he’s not the player he was. I think you’d be looking more at Parayko or Edmundson ++ to get it done.

    • I wouldn’t move Schmaltz in a trade for Galchenyuk. Schmaltz is ready to start his NHL career. Should easly be a top 4 Dman in 3 or 4 years. Great development curve. 3 years in university, 2 years in the AHL, got his 9 NHL games in this season. Future looks very bright for this former 1st round pick from 2012.

      • Nor am I implying Schmaltz worth more than galchenyuk. I see no point StL moving him out with other assets to get galchenyuk who has shown he isn’t much more than a 2nd line LWer.

  4. With the flyers goaltending prospects been at least 2 to 3 years away. That includes Carter hart and Sandstrom from Sweden I could see the flyers trading for a veteran goaltender. I prefer fleury but that trade would not happen. Jimmy Howard Be a good fit as they have cap Space and a two-year contract is palatable. Rather than signing somebody long-term that is only equal or below Howard.

    • Hey Scott,
      Fleury to Philly could happen. Neither Rutherford or Hextall are afraid to pull the trigger on an interesting deal. If these two teams can help each other then why not?

      • I would be surprised to see MAF traded to a Metro division team. The current playoff format adds another reason not to trade a key player within your own division.

      • When the NHL implemented this new bracket formula they said 3 years. I sure hope they send it the way of the dinosaur’s. This was year 3.