Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – May 28, 2017

by | May 28, 2017 | Rumors | 18 comments

Could the Colorado Avalanche consider trading Tyson Barrie.

Latest on the Avalanche, Ducks, Blue Jackets & more in your Sunday NHL rumor roundup.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “30 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman notes the Colorado Avalanche could have decisions to make regarding their goaltending. They intend to protect Semyon Varlamov in the expansion draft but Friedman can’t see them losing backup Calvin Pickard for nothing, especially after his solid performance for Canada at the 2017 World Championships. Pickard has a year left on his contract at $1 million.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With the Avs committed to protecting Varlamov they’ll have to expose Pickard. GM Joe Sakic could try to swing a deal with the Vegas Golden Knights to ensure they select someone else in the expansion draft. Otherwise, Sakic could be forced to trade Pickard rather than risk losing him for nothing to Vegas.

One executive told Friedman that Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie is available “but it’s got to be a legitimate hockey trade.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Pretty much the same terms apply to Matt Duchene and Gabriel Landeskog. Sakic will entertain offers but won’t move any one of those guys unless he’s getting a solid return. In other words, no deals built solely on draft picks, prospects or aging and expensive talent. Barrie could attract interest from the Detroit Red Wings, New York Rangers, Tampa Bay Lightning or Toronto Maple Leafs. All are reportedly in the market for a mobile defenseman with a right-handed shot. However, there could be concerns over his defensive skills. 

Friedman notes the Anaheim Ducks are closing in on re-signing Cam Fowler and a source claim “a stop sign goes up” when inquiries are made into Hampus Lindholm. With Sami Vatanen sidelined perhaps longer than five months recovering from shoulder surgery, it could affect his trade value. Friedman wonders if teams are willing to acquire him if they’ll have to wait one, two or possibly three months into next season for him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Ducks don’t move Vatanen and he’s exposed in the expansion draft, I wonder if his shoulder injury could give Vegas second thoughts? 

If Ducks GM Bob Murray shops a defenseman, Friedman doubts he’ll move him to a Western Conference club, “unless he covets the third-overall pick from Dallas.” He’s heard the Ducks covet Calgary Flames center Sam Bennett, “but would they really want to do this deal with Calgary?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: For that matter, do the Flames really want to deal Bennett? And if they do, would they want to ship him to a Pacific Division rival? 

Friedman doubts the Toronto Maple Leafs will trade winger Connor Brown. He also reports Dallas Stars GM Jim Nill seeks a defenseman “that makes a difference.” The Ducks, Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild could address that need, as could the Winnipeg Jets if they’re willing to part with Jacob Trouba, though Friedman doubts they’ll do that.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Nill is definitely in the market for a skilled defenseman. While this year’s draft isn’t a deep one, that third-overall selection will still have value in the trade market. The Stars GM could package it with a promising prospect, especially to clubs with defensive depth in need of shedding salary. As for the Jets, they could listen to offers for Trouba, but the asking price was expensive last year and I doubt it’ll be lower this summer. 

Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen is in the market for “a sniper in the key moments.” He’s hoping Pierre-Luc Dubois, last year’s third-overall pick, can help. Friedman believes Blue Jackets rearguard Ryan Murray’s name is in the rumor mill but Kekalainen would discuss him specifically.

SPECTOR’S NOTE:  The Jackets have over $70 million tied up in 22 players for next season. If Murray is moved it’ll free up over $2.8 million in cap space, providing some much-needed wiggle room to re-sign RFAs such as Alexander Wennberg and Josh Anderson. 

Friedman knows there’s some interest in Arizona Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith, who was their best player last season. He doubts the Coyotes move him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless Smith wants out of Arizona, I also doubt the Coyotes trade him this summer. 

It sounds like there’s a significant gap in contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and backup goalie Mike Condon.

Luke Fox lists New York Rangers defensemen Dan Girardi and Marc Staal, Dallas Stars goaltender Antti Niemi or Kari Lehtonen, Anaheim Ducks blueliner Kevin Bieksa, Edmonton Oilers winger Benoit Pouliot, Colorado Avalanche rearguard Francois Beauchemin, Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Scott Hartnell, Washington Capitals d-man Brooks Orpik, Los Angeles Kings wingers Dustin Brown and Marian Gaborik, Tampa Bay Lighning defenseman Jason Garrison and Buffalo Sabres forward Matt Moulson as this summer’s top buyout candidates.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Of the Rangers blueliners, Girardi seems the most likely buyout candidate. He’s certainly been the most mentioned. I expect the Stars will buy out Niemi and keep Lehtonen as Ben Bishop’s backup. Bieksa suffered an MCL tear in the playoffs, which could make him ineligible for a buyout. Gaborik underwent knee surgery and could also be ineligible. 

The Oilers have over $53 million invested in 18 players next season so they don’t have to buy out Pouliot this summer. I can certainly see him being bought out next summer, when he has only a year left on his contract. The Blue Jackets could consider a buyout of Hartnell to clear cap space but they could look at a cost-cutting trade involving Hartnell or someone else. Brown still has five years left on his contract, meaning they’ll carry a buyout for 10 years. The Kings could consider other options. Because Beauchemin’s on a 35-plus contract, the Avs won’t get cap relief by buying him out.

The Caps could buy out the final two years of Orpik’s contract to free up cap space, as could the Lightning with Garrison. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if their respective clubs attempt to trade them by packaging them with a pick or prospect and perhaps offering to pick up part of their remaining cap hits. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks also wondered if Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen’s shoulder surgery might adversely affect his trade value. If so, could it force possible suitors, such as the Tampa Bay Lightning, to “move on to a Plan B that could feature Justin Faulk or Jacob Trouba?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Can’t rule it out, though the asking price for Faulk or Trouba could be more expensive than what it would take to land Vatanen. 



  1. “It sounds like there’s a significant gap in contract talks between the Ottawa Senators and backup goalie Mike Condon.”

    Where did you find that reference Lyle? I haven’t run across any such indication in Ottawa.

    • I believe Friedman mentioned the gap for Condon in his 30 thoughts.

      • Wonder where HE got it, then, since nothing of the sort has been mentioned in the Ottawa media. Sure they’re “dragging their heels” on an extension – why would they before the draft when he then becomes a target for LV since Ottawa couldn’t protect both him and Anderson anyway?

      • Vegas has a window to sign any RFA’s or UFA’s not protected if they do so in that 2 day window that will count as their selection from that team so Condon being a UFA doesn’t potentially protect Ott from losing him. Signed or not egas will have better options in players available from Ott & far better goalie options to draft from other teams.

    • Don’t say nothin’ bad about the Sens!

    • Everything is good in Sens world. No negative thoughts!

      • G2 is gross .

  2. Ryan Murray, although a minute muncher when healthy, has a long injury history incl. broken hand and knee injuries that will be cause for concern for any GM

  3. It’s incredibly rare for teams to buyout players with more than 1 season remaining on their contracts, In recent history you have Fistric, Riberio, Seidenberg, Tyutin, Stalberg & Carle who were bought out with 2 years remaining. All these players share 1 thing in common when they were bought out, their salaries didn’t even remotely justify there roster spots with the possible exception of Stalberg in Nashville his buy out was a little odd.

    2 were bought out with 3 years remaining. Semin & Weiss. Both had to go & didn’t justify being retained regardless of term or buy out.

    Only 3 other players Hodgson 4 years remaining an actual 8 year buy out & Mike Richards mutual agreement to terminate his contract in LA & Kovalchuk voluntary retirement so these 2’s impact on the cap was virtually inconsequential were removed from rosters with more than 3 years.

    I would say it’s highly unlikely many of those players are bought out like Girardi or Staal as their contracts aren’t that onerous, just slight over payments in today’s cap world but the 6 & 8 year buyouts respectively would be far more onerous. That said get them down to 2 years & it becomes more plausible.

    As for Bieksa & or Beauchemin. Assuming healthy at buy out window the issue sisn’t their contract or term of buy out, it’s the fact their respective contracts with NMC’s facing expansion are problematic. If they don’t agree to waive which I think they will they will be bought out regardless as neither team has a choice full cap hit or not. It still gets spread over 2 years & that’s better than losing the asset their being protected causes.

    • Girardi goes to a partial ntc so there’s an outside chance we can trade. Maybe package deal to a team that can eat salary. Staal buyout does seem long but Nash at 7.8 cap hit is only 1 season left and Lundquist 8.5 done after 4 .. even in the worst of the buyout years you’re still saving 2-3 million in cap space. The key is bringing in a couple more younger d on elc’s

    • It would be ideal for both Bieksa and Ducks if Bieksa accepts trade to a team with cap room and need for defenceman or 2. Ducks will be able to protect 1 more defencemen of their choice in expansion draft. Bieksa would get more ice time with new team and increase his chances of getting another contract. Leafs can be ideal trade partner since they can afford Bieksa’s salary and need to protect only 2 top 4 defencemen (Rielly and Gardiner). I guess Leafs wouldn’t mind if they lose a defenceman like Carrick to expansion draft. Leafs and Ducks can work out a deal that would send another top 4 defenceman like Vatanen to Leafs for a forward (could be other pieces involved like picks or prospects) after expansion draft. That way Ducks get rid of Bieksa’s salary plus protect better defenceman and Leafs don’t have to give up too much to acquire top 4 defenceman by taking bieksa’s salary. If Leafs get one of Ducks injured defenceman, they can give Bieksa top 4 minutes until injured defenceman comes back. When everyone is healthy they can play Bieksa on third pair. Leafs and Ducks have done it before in Andersen deal. Bernier was part of Andersen deal but was shipped to Ducks after his 2 million bonus was paid by Leafs

  4. Wow, I am not one of the Sakic bashers, but to not protect Pickard is insane. Can someone explain to me why they feel Vegas will be hot on Varlamovs trail?? NO way they pay his salary even though he is supposed to come back healthy. Unless they fetch some really good deal back in return throwing Barrie into the mix then I simply can’t defend this boneheaded move! grrrrrr

    • I think we need to wait & see if this is how this truely plays out. Who knows which goalie will actually be protected. If exposed is Pickard even selected or does Sakic pay Vegas not to select him.

      Very little of what we discuss here ever happens. Rumors from semi reputable sources acquired from sources with an agenda on what information they may wish to plant.

  5. if CGY still needs a goalie would they trade with the AVS?

    to COL: Troy Brouwer, & 2nd OR 3rd rd pick
    to CGY: Varlamov & Beauchemin and some salary retained

    Troy can give the AVS some much needed forward depth albeit a longer contract.
    CGY gets their goalie for a year to see if he is the answer. Varly is only signed 5.9 for 2 more years while Brouwer was 4.5 for 3 more years.
    Beauch is a UFA after this up coming season and can be their #6 Dman
    Avs can now ride the season with Pickard and go after a vet backup like Niemi (on the cheap) bc he will be bought out by DAL.

    Solves both teams protection issues.

    • the longer calgary waits to make a goalie move the more I suspect their interest is currently still playing for the cup. MAF? Saros? maybe it was condon? Prob MAF but who knows…

      • I think MAF is a perfect fit in Calgary we will see…maybe Winnipeg is an even better fit…

  6. wow… slow weekend. gonna be a wild and crazy place over the coming few weeks though.