Latest on the Leafs, Avalanche & Rangers – July 7, 2017

by | Jul 7, 2017 | Rumors | 62 comments

Could the Toronto Maple Leafs shop James van Riemsdyk for a top-four defenseman?

Some suggested trade partners for the Leafs, more Matt Duchene speculation and a look at what’s next for the Rangers in your NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox reports the Toronto Maple Leafs are carrying a glut of forwards, especially wingers. That could make it difficult for promising young players, such as Kasperi Kapanen, Josh Leivo and Nikita Soshnikov to crack the roster.

Fox proposes packaging a forward or two with a draft pick to bolster their blueline, which was only marginally improved by the signing of Ron Hainsey. He notes their recent rumored attempt to dangle winger (and pending UFA in 2018) James van Riemsdyk to the New York Islanders for defenseman Travis Hamonic, who was subsequently deal to the Calgary Flames.

Fox suggests the Anaheim Ducks, Minnesota Wild, Caroilna Hurricanes and Vancouver Canucks as potential trade destinations for van Riemsdyk, noting those four clubs have depth in blueliners. Less complicated options not involving van Riemsdyk include dealing with the Vegas Golden Knights or pursuing one of the remaining rearguards in the free-agent market.

He also suggests simply waiting out through next season, evaluate the current defense, perhaps load up at the trade deadline or pursue better free agents options next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We shouldn’t dismiss the possibility of the Leafs swinging a major trade at some point in the offseason to add a good top-four defenseman. However, I doubt the Ducks are willing to move any of their remaining blueliners after giving up Shea Theodore and Clayton Stoner in the expansion draft. Ditto the Wild, who last week shipped d-man Marco Scandella to the Buffalo Sabres and could reluctant to part with Jonas Brodin or Matt Dumba.

Hurricanes GM Ron Francis recently made it clear he’s not parting with assets for players who’ll depart in a couple of years. So unless JVR is willing to sign a contract extension, Francis won’t pursue him via trade. Fox suggests offering picks and prospect to the Canucks for Chris Tanev, but GM Jim Benning likely prefers getting a good young blueliner back as part of the return.  

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Elliotte Friedman discussing the trade situation of Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene with Edmonton’s 630 CHED. He notes the Columbus Blue Jackets offered up defenseman Ryan Murray as part of their pitch, but the Avs look at him as a fifth blueliner, not as one of the Jackets’ top d-men. Friedman also thinks the Avs asked for Mattias Ekholm from the Nashville Predators but they’re unwilling to part with him. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman took great pains to say he wasn’t trying to insult Murray, only pointing out what he thinks the Avs think of where he sits in the Jackets’ blueline pecking order. Murray still has terrific potential and would be a top-four defender on the Avalanche, but they want a a young guy who’s already established himself in that role.

Seth Jones and Zach Werenski have settled nicely into those roles on the Jackets and they’re obviously not going anywhere. They are likely the type of defenseman the Avs want as part of the return for Duchene. 

Friedman also said Avs defenseman Tyson Barrie was definitely available. However, he was told it would have to be a hockey trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, they want a good player in return, not draft picks and prospects. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks recently reported the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk creates a logjam on the New York Rangers’ blueline. He speculated Nick Holden, who’s a year away from UFA status with an affordable $1.65 million cap hit, could become a trade candidate as GM Jeff Gorten seeks a top-six center. 



  1. Basically what Larry Brooks is saying is now the NYR have D men to spare, which puts them in a very nice bargaining position. Very smart moves by GM Jeff Gorton so far this off season. Duchene fills the Rangers needs for a playmaking C perfectly. Could a package of Holden (former Avalanche), Ryan Gropp, Sergey Zborovskiy and a 1st round pick be enough for Sakic? Thoughts?

    • If Ryan Murray isn’t getting Duchene – Holden definitely isn’t getting Duchene

      Anybody else feel as though Sakic is in over his head here? For a guy that has been quoted as needing a top pair D in return for Duchene, he sure does seem quick to write off a guy like Barrie. Constantly having his best players on a terrible team in the rumor mill for the past 2 years does nothing to help grow this fan base or make Colorado look like an enticing location to play

      • Only 1 of Sakic’s draft picks in his 3 drafts as GM of Colorado is an NHL regular today. Rantanen has 1 year.

        As I have stated repeatedly this team is entering year 3 of a rebuild. I’m not judging Sakic until he’s had 5 years, ideally with out Roy having just as much say in player personal decisions. I’ll split the decision giving him at least 2 but really 3 before I pass judgement.

      • Rebuild a team by giving away arguably the hardest asset to attain? (A 26 year old 1C or a 25 year old top pair D)

    • Duchene does not fit the Rangers cap space or plan.
      If the plan is to go into the season with Zib+Hayes as #1/2 centers they need to secure the 3rd line center at this point.

      JT Miller to me is a better player than Hayes. The Rangers top 9 as-is is decent but there is nothing of any sort of shutdown center option or anyone to take important draws.

      Zib Zuc Nash
      Hayes Buch Kreider
      Miller Grabner Vesey
      Desharnais Fast ?

      • Did you see Miller play center last year while Zibinajad was out? Not ideal.

      • Desharnais will be the #3 C or Andersson may make the team in that role.

        NYR isn’t done yet but need to get Zibanejad signed to determine what their options are. His salary is going to eat up a significant portion of their available cap space. He is 2 years from UFA status so a hard decision needs to be made. Do yet let him take a 2 year arbitration award & risk losing him 2 years out or does NYR do what Mtl did & buy 1 year of UFA status like they did with Gelchenyuk?

        I don’t like that decision by Mtl. I like Gelchenyuk. He already has 1 30 goal season under his belt. I see no way Mtl will be able to afford Gelchenyuk’s next contract now.

      • You mean a player that has never played C at the NHL level struggled to play that position when forced to do so due to injury’s? Shocking.

        You need not worry, baring injuries he won’t need to again. Zibanejad, Hayes, Desharnais will be NYR’s top 3 C’s unless Andersson is NHL ready. Having played 2 years with men in Sweden & having solid size 5’11” & 200+ lbs he may surprise. If not the top 3 are covered regardless & finding a #4 isn’t a serious challenge.

      • Wasn’t it “he never played center 3 days ago”? You don’t know what you’re talking about? Shocking!

      • Rhetorical question. Do you ever grow tired of hearing yourself? I know I do!

      • Miller is one of the best young players in the league… him, trocheck, Gibson, saad… all stupendous!😁

      • I like Miller, I don’t like him at center, and it’s safe to say Coach AV didn’t either. Coach / GM Striker might…..

      • I should have clarified that I feel Miller is a better player than Hayes but should stay on the wing.
        Seeing Hayes bump up to 2nd line while Miller stays on the 3rd or if AV puts him back on the 4th…..

        The Rangers look once again to have 3 2nd lines…

    • You know something Cousin Vinny what you are suggesting seems fair; however, what is going on in Sakic’s mind is anybody’s guess at this point.

    • No.

    • I can help you seek treatment for your trade proposal for Duchene. On top of that, Sakic would want a Skjei type in the trade anyways. He wants an under 25 top 4 defensemen period. That proposal is insane on both sides. Sakic would still reject it.

  2. NYR should Trade Staal keep Holden

    • Easier said than done. In todays cap world just like Girardi he is overpaid for the role he can play.

      Girardi just got a 2 year deal at 3 mil per. After his buyout he makes essentially almost the exact same money but now at 3 mil per to play as a #4/5 even a #3 in a pinch for TB far more palatable cap hit.

      Saying I’d trade Staal instead is great but almost impossible to do. I don’t see NYR trading either Staal or Holden. This team has cup aspirations & that is a solid top 6 D even if 5 of them are LH.

  3. How does Vancouver have “depth” on defence? Tryamakin and Larson both left for KHL and stud dman Luca Sbisa was lost in expannsion draft.

    Del Zaster, Tanev, Edler, Hutton and Stecher barely qualify as an NHL defence, let alone one with “depth”.

    • Don’t you get tired of being bitter ? Maybe leaving Delta and going back to Ontario where you belong would be good for everyone involved.

      • So, in your perfect Pollyanna world everyone should be nothing but positive with only praise heaped upon an organization – and one that purports to be professional while charging their clients top dollar for basically crap thanks to mismanagement. No one else need submit their opinions. Take your own advice.

      • Not at all George. Lay blame where deserved, keep your monies to show your distaste, isn’t that what you said ticket purchasers were doing in Ott? Hell they couldn’t even sell out 1 of their home games in the conf finals. I gave up my Canucks season tickets before the start of last season even when enticed to renew. I’d had enough. This years incentives even greater. Might I renew them next season? We’ll see maybe especially if the enticements increase further. I like what they are doing now but will need to see more beofre buying back in.

        I have slagged Linden, Benning & Willie here often but that comment above is bizarre. It’s essentially trolling. Not at any individual here but the Canucks. Do you believe those Dman are that bad?

      • What were these “enticements”?

      • Since you give the impression you are up on everything, I assume you are aware that the Phoenix pay “system” still has not been resolved. Do you know how many THOUSANDS have been adversely affected? Quite frankly I’m surprised that more games were not sold out. As for whether or not his comments are a true reflection of how HE sees things is immaterial – he can bloody well say what he likes. If Lyle thinks it’s “trolling” then it’s HIS option to leave them stand or take them down.

    • That comment shocks me. I’m not a Linden/Benning fan but the Canucks D is solid & 2 of the players are raw in Hutton & Stecher. Tryamakin will be back eventually & lossing Larson is inconsequential. Nor could I be happier to see Sbisa gone.

      This is a solid top 6 better than a ton of NHL teams when looking at all 6. Can their top 4 stack up to the best? No, but Hutton has 2 years of NHL experience & Stecher 1. they will be getting significantly better over the next 3 to 5 years as they develop.

      Edler, Stecher.
      Hutton, Tanev.
      Del Zotto, Gubranson.

      I can respect you aren’t happy but what have to Canucks done to jade you so significantly? This is essentially trolling. Not against anyone here but the Canucks. If you honestly believe what you are typing I question your intelligence & hockey knowledge. You are making yourself look foolish at the least, stupid at the worst. No slight intended if that’s possible.

  4. To hear Lou say he’s happy with his current roster is unacceptable, they won’t get very far with their current defencemen.
    I feel Lou missed the boat in trying to land a preferred D man from ANA & MIN. I’m sure he was faced with high ransom demands.
    My concern in Lou playing a waiting game is JVR’s value will diminish as time marches on, at this point I’d be happy if they get a good D prospect & a draft pick for him.

    • Greg,

      As a fellow Leafs fan I agree with you. However, it is early in the summer maybe he makes a deal before the season.

    • Yep, Toronto acquiring a good defenseman before the expansion draft was a foregone conclusion for me. The lack of such a move was disappointing.
      As I mentioned here before I don’t see how the Leafs go into the season carrying the number of wingers they have. So a trade has to be made.

      • Seeing Tyson Barrie is available via trade tells me the Leafs should swing a deal with the Avalanche. However, why are the Avalanche trading him if they need defense? Another unhappy Avalanche player? No wonder Joe wants D for Duchene! What a mess. Make a deal Lou!

      • Hey Taz I am with you on the Marleau signing YUCK!

    • Tell me how jvr value is going to drop?

      • JvRs value diminished because he is not under contract beyond this season.
        In the cap world, salary certainty plays a big role.
        A team will not pay much for someone who bolts in one year via UFA – look at what Marleau just got as a UFA so JvR might be tempted to test it.
        So his value right now is about 7-9 months of hockey, each month that passes by he brings less and less to the team that acquires him. His value will go down accordingly.

        On the flip side, the Leafs should be in the playoff hunt come February which means they wont want to part with him and jeopardize team chemistry.

        That is two major reasons why trading him before the star of the season is the best option, if the Leafs in fact want to trade him.

        Over the last few months I have been advocating not trading JvR. However with the Marleau signing (yuck!) they need to make room for him and I would like to see both Kapanen and Soshnikov get a prolonged stint at the NHL level.

        Right now the Leafs line would look like this

        Hyman/Marleau Mathews Nylander
        JVR Bozak Marner
        Marleau/Hyman Kadri Komarov
        Martin Moore Brown/Soshnikov/Kapanen

        Komarov or brown would need to take 4th line duties with no space likely for Soshnikov and Kapanen

      • @Taz now that it’s past July 1st,all a team has to do is ask permission to talk to JVR. It’s actually better now than before

      • The closer he gets to UFA staus refusing to sign with Tor or the team that potentially trades for him the less they will be willing to pay if only a rental. Shattenkirk would have generated a far greater return had he been willing to resign with StL before trade or to the team that acquire him following.

        Nor will a forward in the same situation; JvR, garner as significant a return as a similar Dman; Shattenkirk.

      • I would also point out that if he doesn’t sign a deal he will likely be very sought after if he was dealt as a rental, now that’s not to say a team would or will give up 1 of its top 4 going in to a playoff run or the Leafs would really want to deal him if they were gearing up, just saying the return for a winger of his ilk come late Jan if he is not signed would be a pretty high pick and a very good young player….I don’t think that his return has taken a hit at all. I think some are over blowing/stating the type of D that Toronto is looking for their top 3 is pretty much set (like it or not) with Rielly Zaitsev Gardiner, they are likely looking for a guy to fit in as a 4 and I don’t think unless it’s a younger guy or a guy who easily moves up to play as a 2 they want to just give JVR + away for one.

      • Jvr value is low especially after the Marleau signing the gms now know that he will not be resigned, with really no top pairing dmen the defense will be the leafs weakness again this yr

      • If, as Yogi says, teams can talk to Van Riemsdyk and his agent and are thus able to get a commitment to sign an extension they can live with, then perhaps Toronto can get a decent return that THEY can live with in the resulting trade.

    • This team made the playoffs last season taking Washington to 6 games. They did that with a very young team & D. Tor is a better team now than last season. Hainsey may be old, slow, etc. but he is also a solid defensive Dman that plays a smart game with in his limitations & can play significant minutes against the best in the league regardless. Does he make mistakes? Who doesn’t. I have seen Karlsson, Doughty, Weber, Keith etc make serious bone head mistakes.

      Hainsey isn’t those players, never was, never will be but he will help significantly & was an upgrade over Hunwick.

      I would like to see Polak resigned to play as a #6 now with Marincin & carrick being spotted. If they can trade for a better Dman, I solid #3/4 great but it’s extremely hard to do & usually very expensive.

  5. How does NY have a logjam at defense? Mcdonagh, Skjei, Staal, Holden, Smith, Shattenkirk, DeAngelo.

    That’s 7, Klein just officially announced his anticipated retirement this morning…. what am I missing?

  6. How about Stanley Cup Champion Frankie Corrado for Tyler Bozak?

    Give the Toronto media something to talk about…

    • Sadly they don’t need anything, they can just make it up as they go

  7. Slow day on here haha

    Is anyone giving Jagr a chance?!

    • Only Mrs. Jagr.

      • Maybe that chick that tried to blackmail him

  8. Kapanen & Shoshnikov can be waived so if no room at they inn they return to the minors. Just the business aspect of the NHL. A luxury of depth that many of the better teams have been dealing with for several years during their peak years.

    As for Lievo this appears to be a player Babcock lacks faith in or simply only see’s as an offensive player & with no room in the top 6 doesn’t see as a suitable 2 way player to play 3rd or 4th line minutes. Can Tor carry him again all year barely playing him?

  9. Lyle.

    I’m not sure Tanev can be had today unless an offer to good to refuse but as he enters the final 2 years of his deal & the younger Dman Vancouver is developing are ready for greater responsibility could be had. Hutton has 2 years of NHL experience, Stecher 1, I see Juolevi returning to Jr this season & seeing some nominal playing time the season following. Following a fairly conventional development path to the NHL.

    The Canucks also have other young Dman coming, Subban, Brisebois & Trymaykin will return eventually. # more were drafted this season & more can be drafted in following seasons. Perhaps an undrafted Dman like Holm just signed surprises.

    I’m not certain if Vancouver moves Tanev they need to get a Dman back. From a young prospect or playing NHL Dman perspective this is their strongest pipeline currently. Again I don’t see Tanev moved this season, as we move into next summer & beyond if those chances increase but only if the are fully meeting their needs adding these young Dman. He may well not be moved until in the final year of his deal perhaps as late as the trade deadline that season.

    Vancouver isn’t in a tear down rebuild but a retooling. I think Vancouver will surprise many this year. Not a playoff team but they will be in the hunt but come up short.

    • Sorry should read 3 more were added this year.

  10. Murray was a #4 for for Columbus before Wisnewski arrived but his arrival pushed Murray to 5. Johnson only has 1 year till UFA status & may be to expensive to retain.

    The bigger concern for me isn’t if Murray is a top 4 Dman or even a future top 4 but can he stay healthy? In his entire career in the NHL & even going back to Jr he has done so once. That’s a serious concern & carry’s risks. If taking that Dman as part of that deal the other assets to get me to take that risk are greater & frankly I would prefer a safer option or just keep Duchene. When he bounces back his value will increase in trade but only 2 years from UFA, potential as little as 1 next summer he would be in a similar situation to JvR with Tor or even when Shattenkirk was moved. Their potential refusal to sign a new deal with the team acquiring them limited their trade value.

    Isn’t the cap world an interesting dynamic in trades? Most trades are being made with cash & term being as big a factor as a players abilities on the ice.

  11. Does anyone else understand Brooks? What log jamb at D on NYR?

    DeAngelo is destined for the minors. He wasn’t acquired to be a #7 depth Dman. He doesn’t need to clear waivers so will only be brought up when injuries warrant his skill set. Shattenkirk, or Skjei; although a solid developing 2 way Dman. Otherwise he won’t see much playing time in NYR this season.

    I assume NYR’s top 6 are as follows in no particular order. McDanagh, Shattenkirk, Stall, Skjei, Smith & Holden. NYR doesn’t seem to have many concerns about the LH or RH dynamic. Skjei & Smith played together when Smith was acquired last season both are LH, as are 5 of thos 6 Dman. The only RH Dman is Shattenkirk.

    Could Holden be moved for a similar Dman but a RH 1? Sure, maybe but other than the RH or LH issue what is gained. Once Zibby’s contract is resolved I assume NYR will bring in at least 1 #7 depth Dman. I guys who’s job is to be paid to practice, sit & only play when absolutely necessary. Young developing Dman aren’t usually deployed in such away as it hampers their future potential. They still have some these other guys don’t.

    • They may have him already in Kampher.

      • How many fantasy pools do you have him in? If it’s more than 3 I think AV will feel safe deploying him!

      • Something tells me striker needs to start focusing on his own team cause he doesn’t know jack about a lot of teams in the NHL

      • Yet nothing is real until he puts his ” I have him in 3 pools” or ” I have them finishing 3rd in the east” lol. Like GMs actually take into consideration his brilliance!

  12. TO VAN: Staal (NYR), Marchenko or Marincin(TOR), along with a mid pick from both NYR and TOR


    TO NYR: VanRiemsdyk

    Van gets to fill out their decimated D core a bit.
    Tor gets their top 2 d man
    NYR gets another winger who can score over 20 and only a yr left can decide year end between re-upping him or Nash.

    • Not happening

    • I just tried this on ps4, they took away my phones and beat me over the head with them! This is dreaming in technicolor! Not only is the Staal thing insane…. why does NY want yet another winger?

  13. Spooner wants ~$3M per year. Also sources linking the Bruins with Coyotes. Would love Dvorak as a return in a Spooner deal. Duclair is the other name that was passed around

    • Not happening

      • Nice input, greatly appreciated. Last I checked, this was a rumor board. I provided both fact and rumor that would fill a need for both clubs mentioned to promote conversation

      • Ya and no chance a young team like the yotes are giving up a cost controlled young players who are already better than spooner

  14. We’re having a heat wave and wildfires are popping up everywhere. What’s everyone else’s excuse for the nasty mood?

  15. Cant believe the lack of love VanRiemsdyke is getting .Near 30 goal scorers with a cap friendly 2 year deal dont grow on trees.There is certainly a market that far exceeds what I read on many posts.A number 4 D with similar term is not out of the question for a team needing scoring