Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – June 4, 2017

by | Jun 4, 2017 | Rumors | 53 comments

Former New Jersey Devils star Ilya Kovalchuk still hopes to return to the NHL next season.

Latest on Ilya Kovalchuk, Mike Smith, Evander Kane, Chris Tanev & more in your Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET: Despite recent reports out of Russia claiming former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk could stay in the KHL, Elliotte Friedman said that’s not the case. The 34-year-old Kovalchuk remains interested in returning to the NHL next season.

The New Jersey Devils still own his rights, meaning he must either re-sign with them or the Devils do a sign-and-trade scenario. Neither option can be done until July 1. “It’s a complex deal because of New Jersey and getting him signed,” explained Friedman, “but the word is that teams are saying Kovalchuk still wants to come to North America.”

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports people who knew Kovalchuk as a teammate or member of their teams before he left for the KHL are interested in acquiring him. According to Brooks, “the Blues (with assistant general manager Martin Brodeur), Maple Leafs (with general manager Lou Lamoriello) and Sharks (with coach Pete DeBoer and assistant Johan Hedberg) are among more than a half-dozen clubs who have expressed interest in Kovalchuk.”

The New York Rangers are also interested in the Russian winger and wonders if the Rangers could tempt the Devils by dangling center Oscar Lindberg. He also feels Shero can’t overplay his hand “because he essentially will only hold Kovalchuk’s NHL rights through July 1.”  Brooks speculates that if  If the Devils haven’t dealt the winger by then, “he likely would return to Russia for a final season before becoming an unrestricted free agent next July 1, unencumbered at that point by his current status on the voluntary retired list.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see how much serious interest  there is in Kovalchuk as July 1st approaches and the dust settles from what’s likely to be a very busy trade market in the final two weeks of this month. The Blues already have Jaden Schwartz, Robby Fabbri and Vladimir Sobotka at left wing. If the Leafs opt to part ways with James van Riemsdyk this summer, perhaps Kovalchuk could be a fit there. He could provide a good boost of veteran experience at left wing for the Sharks, but GM Doug Wilson could prefer a younger option there. 

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Los Angeles Kings are among the teams interested in Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, who’s a year away from unrestricted free agency. Friedman believes the Sabres could be willing to do it if a deal can be struck between the two sides.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman notes the Kings are in desperate need of salary-cap relief and a young scorer. Adding Kane could address the latter, but his $5.25 million cap hit for next season won’t help their cap issues unless they can shed salary. Friedman didn’t say if the Kings would try to dump salary on the Sabres, but I doubt their new GM Jason Botterill would entertain that option. If the Kings hope to acquire Kane, they’ll likely have to swing a cost-cutting deal with another club.. 

SPORTSNET: Nick Kypreos reports the dwindling market of available goalies who can make a difference is generating interest in Mike Smith of the Arizona Coyotes. Smith, who has two years remaining on his contract ($5.66 million annual cap hit), apparently wants to win now and the Coyotes could prefer going younger. “Talk is the salary cap might force them to be bottom-feeders, which means they might finally be ready to move Mike Smith,” said Kypreos.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rory Boylen (who cited the Kypreos report) suggests the Calgary Flames, Philadelphia Flyers and Winnipeg Jets could use an experienced starting goalie. Smith has a no-trade clause but could be willing to waive it to join a better club. The Flyers ($13 million in cap space), Jets ($18 million) and Flames ($23 million) have the room to take on Smith’s contract. If any of them are interested, they could try to convince the Coyotes to pick up part of his annual cap hit or take back a toxic contract in return. 

Elliotte Friedman reports teams are calling the Vancouver Canucks expressing interest in defenseman Chris Tanev, but the asking price is high. The Canucks are reluctant to part with him and it could take a very good return to sway them. Tanev carries an annual cap hit of $4.45 million annually through 2019-20.  Canucks GM Jim Benning admits he’s listening to offers but isn’t shopping Tanev.

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma wondered if Benning might consider offering Tanev to the Dallas Stars in exchange for the third-overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Stars GM Jim Nill is willing to move that pick and it’s believed he’s seeking an established top-four, right-shot blueliner.  Benning also denied a recent report claiming he’d spoken with Nill but didn’t rule out the possibility.

If Benning acquired that pick, Kuzma suggests it could be used to select a young center such as Gabriel Valardi, Casey Mittelstadt or Cody Glass. Benning also holds the fifth-overall selection, which Kuzma suggests could be used to pick a young defenseman such as Timothy Liljegren, Cale Makar or Miro Heiskanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Benning moves Tanev for that third overall pick, it will signal his commitment to a full roster rebuild, which he’s seemed reluctant to do over the last couple of years. I think Nill would jump at the opportunity to ship that third-overall pick to Vancouver for Tanev, but it remains to be seen if Benning will do it. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the New York Rangers are getting offers for goaltender Antti Raanta, who could be selected by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft. Moving Raanta, however, would mean the Rangers could lose a different player (Oscar  Lindberg, Jesper Fast or Michael Grabner) to Vegas. Brooks believes the Rangers would want good value in return for Raanta. 

Brooks also said the Rangers haven’t approached Dan Girardi or Marc Staal about a contract buyout or to ask them about waiving their no-movement clauses. However, that doesn’t mean either option won’t happen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tough choice for the Rangers. They could lose Raanta for nothing in the expansion draft, but if they trade him another good player could be selected by Vegas. Still, I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Raanta trade. The market for quality goalies is shrinking and a club seeking help between the pipes could come calling with a worthwhile offer. 



  1. I could see the flyers trading for Mike Smith. A above average experienced goaltender is a necessity with them as they are bringing in their young defence prospects. Short term contract remaining would allow a bridge until Carter hart or Felix sandsrom are an option.
    In addition with Michael Neuvorth reported for months as going to Vegas there is a definite need

    • One of Fleury, jimmy Howard or smith, Could be the Flyers tender next year

      • I’m thinking Pittsburgh is not trading MAF to a Metro team. The road to the Cup in the Metro is tough enough as it is. In my mind if the Flyers get MAF it’s through another team.

      • I think Pit will do with MAF that serves their interests the best. If MAF some how ends up in Phi it doubt it will be from Pit & would happen after expansion. I assume Phi is going to protect Stolarz then sign a UFA or trade for a goalie before the season starts.

      • what would you think it would take to get either of these goalies. Why not just bring back mason for a cheaper 2 year deal

    • Would it be just another goalie in the long list of Philadelphia goalie busts? Who knows it’s worth a try! Can’t be any than many of the others. Smith might very well help Philly. I still hope Fleury goes there! What drama that would make!

    • Why would Vegas take Neuvirth? He’s injury riddled. There will be goalies like Ullmark, Grubauer, Dell etc available in the eDraft.

      Neuvirth won’t be on that list.

  2. I have said it before and I will say it again. That’s gonna have to be one hell of a trade offer for Shero to trade Kovalchuk to the Rangers. He isn’t gonna want to face him 4x a season, and he definitely isn’t going to want him to potentially in the way to making a playoff run. So trading him to a direct divisional rival is going to be next to impossible. I don’t really buy it anyway because Brooks is a hack.

    • When’s NJ making the playoffs next?

      • jersey should send kovy to the highest bidder regardless because you are right. now if jersey was in the atlantic I think it would be much different. they would have a legit shot at playoffs in that case.

      • Yeah. Moving divisions would really enhance their chances of making the playoffs. Where they are now they were 32 points out – but had they been in the Atlantic they would have only had to make up 25! Terrible injustice.

      • lol. I agree. I’m pretty sure we could create the worst division in the NHL from an east west combo… and NJ is still out or bubble at best!

      • NJ vs Atlantic division 7-13-4. By far their worst record against any division in the league. Somehow that translates to a division they’d thrive in?

      • The Atlantic will be better next season. No way TB & Flo repeat last seasons performance & Bos & Buf both enter years 3 & 4 of their respective rebuilds & will be better.

        Baring significant trades or UFA signings NJ is just as bad in the Atlantic next season.

      • Bottom line e here for NJ is that next year’s team is going to look drastically different from this previous year. Every pundit in the hockey world knows there is going to be a ton of movement in the next 2 weeks because of expansion draft and no rise in the cap. NJ has a ton of cap space and a ton of picks. Shero is on record saying they are going to be active. Plus they have the Kovalchuk chip to play. So the assets are there, plus the team already has Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, plus young up and coming players like Pavel Zacha, Miles Wood, Michael McLeod, as well as Cory Schneider. And I definitely believe that Schneider will have a bounce back season next year. Couple that with the possibility that they upgrade the blue line this off season and I don’t think the Devils are as far off as everyone thinks, provided Shero makes the right moves this summer.

      • Also, they are going to have either Nolan or Nico next season too.

      • Devils will be competitive soon… but likely still a season out. and if all the teams get better in the atlantic who drops? or for that matter the east in general?

      • There’s a whole lot of “ifs” there Ralph – and shoring up their D is easier said than done. And as I always say about “if” – if your uncle had different equipment he’d be your aunt.

      • I made a similair comment the other day Ralph. We wait to see what NJ can accomplish. Not a desired destination for UFA’s but if traded there you have little choice.

        I assume some significant help is coming. Curious to see what Shero can accomplish.

      • Actually not as bad of a destination as you would think. Taylor Hall said himself he was surprised how much he liked it here. Young players love that it’s so close to NYC without all the media attention. And for guys with family NJ boasts some of the best schools in the USA. It’s so good here Brodeur still maintains a residence here. Scott Stevens keeps coming home. NJ is alot more than Newark and the Turnpike. Don’t knock it if you don’t know it

      • I know it, and know it pretty well. I don’t think this is a popular destination for free agents. For multiple reasons. Starting out with the team is currently not as near to being competitive as some here are making it. Even if they get busy this offseason, I wouldn’t expect miracles. They are 3-4 years from being anywhere near competitive, and that barring they draft well, mix in free agents and trades with no major setbacks.
        Nobody is throwing them the kitchen sink for Kovy.

      • I’m not commenting on the city in the slightest but the team.

  3. I hope whoever takes Kovalchuk signs him to a nice longgggg contract with a huge cap hit. Full NMC too lol

  4. If Jim Nill offers Benning their 3rd overall for Tanev, Benning better run with it.
    Drafting #3 & 5 puts him right up beside Burke when he got #2/3 to draft Sedins. If he can somehow also get a player or prospect then make a statue for him

    Solves both his needs of getting a ppqb and a top center.
    Draft Heiskanen at 3 and either Vilardi or Glass with #5

    • 3-15 is basically interchangeable in most clubs eyes so it wouldn’t be much of a move.

  5. I just can’t picture Kovalchuk in a Leaf uniform no matter how little the cost.

    • I hope THEY back a dump truck full of money to him

  6. Nj has to sign Kovalchuk for him to return to the NHL this year & can’t do so until July 1st so why does Brooks feel in NJ doesn’t trade him before July 1st he’s returning to the KHL?

    Tanev is worth more than Dallas’s 3rd overall pick. None of the players projected at #3 may ever become the player Tanev is today. A top pairing Dman.a coveted right handed D. Why would Vancouver give up Tanev for an asset that may never be the player they have? On a great contract to boot having just entered his prime for Dman.

    • He’s definitely not worth more than a 3rd overall pick. If it was Van’s pick and Tanev for the 3rd then it’d definitely be worth more but Tanev for 3rd overall in the first rounder is a pretty solid deal for both teams.

      Also Tanev has yet to play a whole season and has yet to exceed 20 points in a season which he has only hit once.

  7. Ny currently has Kreider, Vesey, Buchnevich, Miller on the left. Zuccs, Nash, Fast, and Grabner on the right. Where exactly does Kovy fit in? And who is disappearing off the roster to make any sense of this?

    Ny is loaded at forward, but needs D help. Can Kovy play the right d side? Brooks once again showing how clueless he really is!

    • Agreed, Brooks is a hack

    • Obviously if Rangers acquire a top right D chances are we lose a forward. As you said, wee loaded. And Brooks stated Rangers would probably look to trade Nash to free up cap space.

      • Honestly, I’d rather Nash than Kovy. And Nash’s contract is over next year. I’d still rather they bring him back than Kovy for 2-3 more years. But playing devils advocate ( no pun intended) they still have Kreider, Miller, Buchnevich and Vesey on the left side. Getting rid of Nash doesn’t really help. He has played Rw the entirety of his NY career. And NO way am I sending Kreider or Miller to Newark in that deal! I don’t even think I send Vesey or Buchnevich to be honest.

        The only way I’d consider Kovy is if in fact Kreider or Miller were used to help the right side on d. But they’d still have to move Staal, Girardi or Nash to make Kovy work. All 3 have NMCs, and I don’t see any of them waiving at this point.

      • Ppl don’t give Nash enough credit, sure his offensive numbers might have declined but he is a still a good 2 way player

  8. I have a hard time with the “don’t want to lose so-and-so for nothing” routine supposedly emanating from various team management. I mean, how much have they received from that half BILLION entry fee forked over by Las Vegas? Whoever they lose it certainly won’t be “for nothing.” What do they expect LV to get for that chunk of cash? Total crap?

    • I agree George. About 6 months ago Las Vegas expressed concern about the dilution of the quality of players in the the expansion draft as a result of the pre-expansion draft trading period. The trading speculation is a lot of fun for fans but maybe the fairest thing to do would have been to have a no trade period until after the expansion draft.
      Seems like a much better deal to just buy an established team.

      • Vegas can use this period to their advantage though. perfect example is the ducks. ducks dont want to lose a top 4 d man or top forward… they would have to trade one away in theory to not “lose them for nothing.” if the ducks trade with another team thats a blow for vegas but vegas can prevent that trade by offering to deal with the ducks. its about overal value. for the ducks you have is the cost of trading assets to vegas greater than or equal to the value of keeping the players they want – the value of the assets returned in a trade for one of their players? lets say the 28-29 pick is valued by the ducks as an acceptable loss to keep their core together. vegas takes the pick in return for not selecting one of the big 4 d etc. they work out who vegas will draft ahead of time and vegas gets a another 1st (if its that expensive… I could see 2nd rounders and prospects also good enough to accomplish this). vegas does this with all the teams “forced” to trade a player (ana, cmbs, minny, isles, sens, etc) they could rack up picks and waiver exempt prospects. they will still fill their roster up with picks in the draft, FA, salary dumps, etc.

  9. Kings trade Martinez or Muzzin to Buffalo for Kane. When Kings lose someone to Las Vegas in expansion draft the salaries just about even up. Yes the Kings need offense.

    • Reasonable offer….perhaps add some other pieces like bottom six player swap or draft picks….

    • There is no way the Kings are trading Muzzin for Kane, not even close. Muzzin is signed up for 3 more years at a very reasonable $4 mill per and was good enough to make Canada’s stacked world Cup roster. He’s a legit #2 D-man.

      LA’s not trading that for a headache who is a ufa in a year. not to mention the fact that Dmen are way more valuable than wingers.

      Buffalo might be able to get Martinez for Kane….maybe! Not Muzzin.

      • They can easily get Muzzin for Kane. Just because Muzzin is signed doesn’t mean he’s not going to get traded. As Dion Phaneuf can tell you no amount of years remaining on a contract make you safe from going anywhere.

        Your team can barely score. Kane = one of the best even strength goal scorers in the game. Going to have to give something good up to get something worthwhile in return.

    • I doubt LA trades either of those Dman.

      • I’m feeling Buffalo would be better off trying to resign Kane. They over paid to get him and yes, he’s a headache but he’s everything Buffalo needs (Speed, grit, scoring)

  10. Vancouver and Benning should entertain taking the 3rd overall from DALLAS for Tanev…IF….it is being offered and perhaps add additional moving parts to get the rights to Nichushkin. Draft Cody Glass at #3. Trade Tanev in his prime and not in 4 years when the VANCOUVER roster is finally able to be a playoff contender.

    • nich and the 3rd overall is way to much for tanev alone but it could be worked out. van also takes niemi or lehtonen and sends back their 2nd rounder?

      • IF that offer of the 3rd overall, Nichushkin and Niemi is on the table for Tanev and my 2nd rounder I do it easily. Niemi is my backup for Markstrom and only signed for 1 yr. Van would get a young RFA at 22yrs of age..can draft Glass at the #3 spot and still have the 5th overall. Then they can work with cap strapped teams to pick up Dmen (and additional assets) to get them thru the next 2 yrs of transition.

    • I posted this before but I still think it’s a solid offer:

      To Dallas- Tanev, Eriksson

      To Van- 3rd, rights to Nich and Niemi.
      Maybe Van needs to retain some of Eriksson’s salary but I think this is a win, win trade.

  11. If Taney is worth the 3rd overall imagine what a top three true second pair defenseman yields! I call bs on that one – Dallas would be best served to lol for a better deal b/c there are plenty of available player of higher stature.

    • I agree Tanev can’t stay healthy can’t produce points he is decent 3/4 guy totally disagree with this one Lyle

    • Same it’s absolutely ridiculous the prices some people on here are throwing out on Tanev. I’d give nothing more then a 2nd rounder which can turn into a Dallas first next season if he reaches 25 and plays at least 65 games.

  12. Tanev is a beast. underrated by people who don’t know hockey. Gudbransson was picked #3 or #4. Think anyone in the league would trade him straight up for tanev? don’t get too enamoured with the #3 pick in an OK to subpar draft.

    • I agree Taney is a good dman but the top 5 players in this draft are will be good players and the 3rd will have a choice of forward or dman

    • OMG your comparing a bad draft pick to Tanev?

      Heiskanen, Makar, Liljgren, Foote will probably all be better then Tanev.

      Guy can’t stay on the ice. He’s never exceeded 20 points. Hell he has only reached the 20 point plateau once in his whole career.

      A “Beast” would be doing much better then that.