NHL Rumor Mill – July 21, 2017

by | Jul 21, 2017 | Rumors | 59 comments

Can the Islanders re-sign John Tavares before his eligibility next summer for unrestricted free agency?

Updates on John Tavares, Tomas Tatar and Ilya Kovalchuk in your NHL rumor mill. 

NEW YORK POST:  Brett Cyrgalis weighs in on the lack of news regarding the New York Islanders efforts to re-sign captain John Tavares, who’s eligible next July for unrestricted free agency. As each day passes with Tavares unsigned, there’s growing anxiety among Islanders fans. If a deal isn’t possible, Cyrgalis believes GM Garth Snow knows it would be prudent to trade Tavares rather than risk him losing him for nothing via free agency.

Cyrgalis also thinks it’s also possible Tavares could play out next season with the Isles while Snow listens to offers. If no worthwhile ones are found, Snow could still try to re-sign the superstar center before July 1.

Cyrgalis notes Snow acquired right wing Jordan Eberle last month. He also traded defenseman Travis Hamonic to Calgary for a handful of high draft picks, which could be used as trade bait to acquire another elite forward. Cyrgalis considers Colorado Avalanche center/wing Matt Duchene as the most obvious trade target.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Tavares repeatedly said this decision wouldn’t be an easy one. After the Isles disappointing performance last season following their promising playoffs in 2016, I believe he needs assurances they’re heading in the right direction. I don’t see Snow trading Tavares this summer. Both sides could take a wait-and-see approach to 2017-18.

Bringing in Duchene could certainly help improve the Isles chances of re-signing Tavares, especially if the pair develop a strong on-ice chemistry. However, the Avalanche want a big return for Duchene, including a young, established top-four defenseman. They apparently rejected an offer of Hamonic and a first-round pick before he was shipped to the Flames. There are rumors claiming the Avs could have an eye on top prospects Mathew Barzal and Ilya Sorokin, but Snow is likely reluctant to part with them. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan reports winger Tomas Tatar seeks a six- to seven-year contract from the Detroit Red Wings close to $6 million annually, while the club prefers a five-year deal worth $5 million per season. If he’s awarded a one-year contract via arbitration, the two sides can open contract talks again on January 1.

If no long-term deal can be reached, Kulfan believes it’s a good possibility Tatar could be moved at the trade deadline if the Wings are out of the playoff picture by then. He thinks Tatar could fetch “an early-round draft pick, or highly-rated prospect”.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The two sides could reach an agreement on a new contract before the arbiter reaches a decision tomorrow. The Wings could also reject that ruling, though that would allow Tatar to become an unrestricted free agent and they would lose him for nothing. I think Tatar gets a one-year deal and the two sides revisit discussions in January. The longer he goes without a new contract, the greater the likelihood he’s shopped at the trade deadline. 

SPORT-EXPRESS’s Igor Eronko reports Ilya Kovalchuk believes this coming season will his last with SKA St. Petersburg as he still hopes to return to the NHL next year. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kovalchuk’s rights are still held by the New Jersey Devils for the upcoming season but he’ll become an unrestricted free agent next July. The Devils tried to do a sign-and-trade last month but GM Ray Shero claimed he didn’t get a serious offer. That’s probably because interested clubs know they can sign Kovalchuk next summer without having to give up assets to get him. There will be interest in him as a free agent, though he won’t get an expensive long-term deal. 



  1. I’ll be glad when all these arbitration rights scenarios are dealt with one way or another because that’s when the trade and/or remaining UFA possibilities should start to kick in. GM’s have to know where they stand with the cap before completing trades and/or signing the odd UFA still hanging around.

    As for the Kovalchuk thing, regardless of what Shero was offered he should have accepted it and moved on – otherwise, he’s just being obstinate to make some kind of point in a situation that took place when he wasn’t even associated with NJ. Next year he gets zilch and the possibility of facing a vengeful Kovalchuk every time the Devils play whatever team he eventually joins.

    As for Tatar, does anyone think a guy who has been averaging 50 points a season the past 4 years is really worth a cap hit of close to $6 mil for the next 6 or 7 years? I sure as hell don’t.

    • Shero told the NJ beat reporters that it never got far enough to discuss trades with other teams, so it was out of his hands. Kovalchuk was asking teams for a 3 year contract with an AAV of $6.5M. That scared away teams from negotiating with him.

      Shero is getting a bum rap, but Kovalchuk was driving the bus on this. IK had to choose a team, then inform Shero do Shero could discuss trade terms. But it never got that far

      • Thanks. That’s a lot more specific than “he didn’t get a serious offer” which, on its own, suggests he got offers that he didn’t consider “serious.”

      • Also… if it was really really low offers Shero gains more in negotiating reputation for future situations with players than he could get for a really low offer. Shero wouldn’t give one rats behind about the situation years ago.

      • Good point chrisms.

    • He’s probably closer to the type of deal Kreider got in NY – just over $4 mil per.

      • Tara I mean. This didn’t slot in where I thought it would above.

      • Sigh. Tatar even. Lyle you GOT to do something with that bloody faded script!

      • I have no faded script on my page; except for, by Lyle Richardson | Jul 21, 2017 | Rumors | 7 comments. Perhaps it’s part of your color settings, you should be able to change that on your own computer.

      • Don’t get me started on Tatar again.

      • Facing UFA status in 1 year Tatar may well get that type of money in the UFA market a year out. He will only be 27 next summer as a UFA & has been a 20 goal scorer essentially every year of his career. He only has 4 full seasons of NHL play, his rookie season was the 2012-13 lock out season. he has scored between 20 to 30 goals & 45 to 60 points.

        With McDavid resetting the bar at 12.5 mil that pulls up all contracts moving forward especially in the UFA market. I wouldn’t pay him 6.5 for 7 years either but to expect him to take 5 for 5 isn’t going to fly.

        Nor has tatar ever been given top quality minutes in Detroit. Has never seen consistent 1st unit PP minutes even though he has been the best goal scorer over his 4 full seasons. He will with his new team next season. Or Detroit will have to pay him at least 6 for 7 to retain him.

      • Striker… We’ve been through this before. You know Tatar isn’t worth that money. I agree though someone will pay when he becomes a UFA. However the lock out will fix these types of salaries with the rollback and compliance buyouts. It has before… It will again.

      • Yep. We are totally on the same page. Most players are over paid in today’s NHL cap world. The are demanding monies that teams haven’t yet earned nor can earn under this CBA. It’s a process & we need at least 2 more lockouts & the growth of the game to solve all these issues.

    • Well, one more arbitration thing is out of the way with Ryan Dzingel agreeing at the last minute to sign a 2-year $3.6 mil deal with the Senators. I think it’s a tad too much but I guess only time will tell.

      • So do i. I also thought pageau’s deal was a tad to much as well.

        But im ok with tads too much.

        We got em both signed for 3 years as opposed to the 1 or 2 year deals arbitrarion would of rewarded. We also dont risk animosity between the player and management as the player doesnt have to lisyen to management explain why he isnt worth what he asked.

      • Actually, Jeff, Dzingel’s IS a 2-year deal.

    • Canucks are about to give No Show Bo 6 million for 6 years…..

      • Really!

  2. It’s dead of summer and not much in the way of rumors so maybe people will be interested a somewhat random discussion about a general topic that has carried out for the past several years (past year especially) and that is, why is it so hard to consistently evaluate defensemen?

    To give you an idea of what I mean, if you ask most hockey people who is better between Drew Doughty and Erik Karlsson, you will get some pretty divided responses, and there can be arguments from knowledgeable hockey people on either side of that argument who see the gap as being pretty significant between both players. They may agree that both are great players, but there are a lot of people that will see one or the other as clearly better, meaning they must have very different ways of evaluating what a defensemen should be.

    This doesn’t really happen with forwards, even when they play very different styles. Crosby v. Ovehckin is a great example. Maybe for a small period of time you could make an argument either way, but it’s pretty clear to most now. Even looking at someone like Malkin, who has accomplished much of what Crosby has, has closer career rates than most would think, and is pretty comfortably the 2nd best center of this generation, there is virtually no argument.

    With Defensemen there always seems to be a divide, and it even leads to weird valuations and trades. For instance, despite the value of young D being very high in trades, they don’t seem to command the same contracts as good young forwards. Perfect example would be looking at Parayko and Drouin. Signed for the same amount this year, but I would have thought that in a trade Drouin wouldn’t be close to enough to land Parayako. Parayako’s contract falls in line with typical longer term deals of very high end D, but Drouin’s was touted as a steal (and I think it was a great value, not here to argue that) and that he left money on the table.

    This is weird when you can make the argument just based on the number of minutes they play, and impact adding one top end D to your line up makes compared to a top end winger, that Parayako’s value should be quite a bit more.

    We also don’t have great data to support what a defender should be doing all the time. It’s not like there is dominated by the best defenders. +/- isn’t a great indicator, points don’t help you figure out if the player can actually defend, blocked shots and hits are useless as they suffer from scorekeeper bias and there is virtually no correlation to high numbers of either and being a great defensemen.

    All of this is even evident in the way D are drafted. List the top 20 D in the league, and they were from all over the draft. List the top 20 forwards, and a massive percentage were chosen in the top 10, lots of top 3.

    Advanced stats are starting to be applied, but even those can’t be agreed on (even amoung people compiling them) as there is often a stat or condition that people will use that discounts their value. “Defender A has better possession stats but faces lower levels of competition, Defender B gives up +1 shots per 60 minutes but it’s against the other teams top lines a lot”

    I think it’s interesting to hear what people think makes a good defensemen, what stops certain players from being considered good defensemen, or why there is virtually no consensus on how to evaluate them.

    • Stick to the headlines that has nothing to do with anything Lyle provided today

      • Who cares. Lyle wants hits, open civilized communication & debate about hockey. I perceive this as the best chat board on the net for hockey & if nothing else to discuss happy to potentially discuss anything hockey related matters.

        Why do you care, choose to weigh in or not what difference does it make to you.

      • This was one of the better chat boards for fans to come discuss fantasy trades a rumors.

        Since you and a few others from the number crunching crowd have come along I have noticed a lot of regulars are no longer around.

        Your arrogance is almost sickening and the way you belittle the average fan is disgusting.

        Just yesterday you told someone McCarron’s value is ZERO, where do you get off spewing that crap? Why did you even feel the need to respond to that comment?

        The original poster was doing what we all did before you came along and started belittling everyone with your absolute opinion.

        Its almost like you feel the need or have the right to attempt to correct others peoples opinions and thoughts why?

        Add in the fact that you constantly bring up your fantasy pools and spreadsheets and the comments and conversation turn to you talking to yourself. How many comments do you have where you reply to yourself .. over and over

        There was a solid group of people that used to come on here and discuss potential trades, team needs and potential future UFA signs.
        Now its just Striker his 6 accounts a lot of advance stat none sense and a bunch of leaf haters.

      • Bit off topic but I’d like to talk about strikers percentage of being wrong about what’s gonna happen in the NHL, he is a bit below 500 with a few big swing and misses! Thoughts?

      • I’m not about to weigh in on what you posted Dino – other than one comment at the end which says “… and a bunch of leaf haters.”

        Just to be clear, and since you went into a LOT of detail in the rest of your post, what type of comments do you feel renders the poster as “a Leaf hater?”

      • George,

        Just to be clear I am not a leaf fan and I don’t think every player is signing there when they become a UFA. But I do understand why the media seems to beat that drum every chance they get.

        Let’s not forget the leaf talk does drive a lot of other news, views and comments.

        Some people go out of their way to just bash the team and their fans every time something Toronto related is brought up, or criticize their fans for getting excited at the off chance a superstar player might sign there.

        Even though it is clear to the rest of us that this might not happy we should respect it regardless.

        You can’t blaming the average fan because the 300 reports that follow that team need to fill space.

        Hopefully that answers your question,

      • Bigbadbruins.

        Lots of data there as always. Never change buddy. Let’s discuss something about hockey with some facts or insight or at least grilled cheeze sandwiches.

        I say when I’m wrong.


      • It does Dino – but that brings up another question. If and when someone posts in here that, for example (and this is JUST an example), in commenting on an article or TV show suggestion that, say, Tavares should be a target of the Leafs, proposing they offer the Islanders a 1st and Connor Brown (JUST examples) that we should just let it lay and refrain from commenting? And if we do, are we then Leafs haters?

        I ask that because, in the past, I have been so labelled simply for countering such a suggestion with reasons why it’s preposterous.

      • I have learned that you are either a fan of the leafs or you are a leaf hater.

        It does not matter if you are being subjective or not.

        If your a fan of the leafs you can critique them and not get labelled with the hater label.

        If its kniwn your not one of their fans and speak anythjng that can be taken negatively vy the leaf fan base. You are labelled a leaf hater.

        But hey

        Shake it off, shake, shake, skae it off.

        Oh if you all could see my dance.

      • George,

        I understand what you mean, there is always going to be crazy trade proposals presented from some fans but you just have to keep in mind not ever fan has 30 – 40 years of following the NHL under their belt. But one comment about a far fetch trade doesn’t need to turn into comments like “Leaf fans are delusional, Leaf fans over value their players” and on and on

        And for the record everyone is always shocked about what players are actually moved for compared to how fans value them and what they thought they would return.

      • Dino it still is the best. Striker while a bit over the top and sometimes coming off a bit full of his or her self, brings generally insightful if a bit long winded (especially if reading on a cell) opinions. The nicest thing about this site is Lyle does loosely patrole it to prevent blatant ignorance… admittedly I’ve been tagged a few times (all misunderstandings I’m sure😇). But overall it’s good

    • Talk about what ever you want. People can choose to weigh in our discuss if they choose.

      • Yeah…

        I like ketchup on my grilled cheese. Anyone else?

      • You’re right. Lyle does a phenomenal job with this website. I read it every day but I’m not compelled to comment every day. But Lyle has never posted, nor is there a link to, any rules or regulations that say you have to only talk about what he posts or that you can’t like one team more than the rest or that you can’t dislike any teams or players more than the rest. Some of the commenter Gustapo need to learn that.

      • To answer Danny though I would say most hockey fans would see Karlson as just slightly the better player. Currently anyways. I think most would also agree that Crosby is superior to OV at this point except the idiots who still go to the Crosby is a whiner narrative. Drouin probably couldn’t have gotten a Parayko this past year because of Paraykos importance to the Blues. I don’t think there are many players that the Blues would have given up Parayko for. But Drouin did get a 19 year old Sergachev who I have seen play live a few times and is going to be a superstar. I can see Sergachev becoming the next Karlson and he and Hedman becoming the best 1-2 punch dcorps in the league in a few years.

      • In my mind Karlsson has come a million miles. I think everyone here knows my disdain for offensive d-men. But watching him dissect the NY Rangers in the playoffs I have a whole new respect for that guy! Not only for his offensive skills, but there were defensive plays he made in that series that went the other way and ended up in the back of the net.

        All that being said, I still would take Doughty over him. He can still contribute offensively and is hand down better all around d-man imo. If I’m up by one goal and hanging on, I’d prefer he was the guy I tap on the shoulder. And if I’m down a goal, he still has that offensive upside.

      • Come on guys. I’m surprised we didn’t hear Dino come on today and try to propose yet another trade for the Canadiens involving McCarron and Bealieu.

        Cause that doesn’t get tiring Dino.

      • Dee I would agree about Sid and Ovi, I don’t think there is really a debate. Essentially pretty much the only time there was was back when Ovi was coming off back to back Hart Trophies, but that was a small sample at that time, and it’s hard to argue with a 60 goal scorer coming off back to back Harts.

        I liked that example as it shows it’s not just about differing styles. Ovi and Sid play the game extremely differently, yet we still don’t have a hard time coming to a consensus when evaluating them against each other.

        Karlsson – Doughty might have leaning toward Karlsson, but it’s still relatively divided. That’s not a knock on anyone who holds either opinion, as both are generational talents defensively, just that it’s a great example of how experts, media types, fans, scouts — just about everyone still has a hard time defining what the most important traits for a D-man to have.

        The reason I find it interesting is that when you get beyond the top guys like Karlsson Doughty, where if nothing else you know both are great, it actually gets quite hard to figure out who some consensus top pairing guys are.

        I actually tried this the other day with a friend who even views D a lot the same way as I do, and after a dozen or so guys the lists diverged greatly and between us there were only just over 20 guys we agreed were top pairing D. There were lots of guys I had on my list that he didn’t agree with and vice versa.

        I find that interesting as GMs and coaches do the same sort of thing as you can tell some coaches prefer some types of defensemen over others, and it can drastically effect how they use them. Usage tends to then effect how they are evaluated, as a defencemen who plays very well in a limited bottom pairing role takes a long time before earning enough trust to get additional minutes, which creates a perception they aren’t good enough for those minutes in some cases. I think this may even play into some of the perception that defensemen take longer to develop. It is very possible some defensemen who gradually grow into larger roles were really ready for them much sooner, but it just took a long time for the coach to add in those responsibilities. Couple this with the fact that defensemen get a much shorter leash for mistakes than forwards to in the NHL, which I think can really slow the development if a mistake causes you to have your minutes reduced significantly for a long period of time, rather than with forwards they get benched for a shift, or spend a game on the 4th line to teach them a lesson then put them back on their regular line. Finally, I think the way development is handled with forwards and D. We always hear how high skilled young forwards might as well play in the AHL or Junior if they don’t get a top 6 role in the NHL, so it’s very rare highly regarded rookies start out with bottom line minutes. With D, it’s the opposite, very rarely do young D get the same treatment as they almost always start with 3rd pairing minutes, and slowly add in PP and PK time. It becomes a chicken and egg scenario, do they take longer to move up the line up because they take longer to develop? or the other way around?

      • Chrisms.

        Well who doesn’t. Heinze ketchup is a must. A dill pickle on the side is a fabulous touch as well.


      • This Karlsson-Doughty comparisons kind of reminds me of an old similar argument about who you would rather have – Howe or Richard. The general consensus back then (WAY WAY before instant communication and the Web) was “if you wanted to win you took Howe – if you wanted to fill a rink you took Richard.” Of course, that was before the Habs went on the first of their 5-straight Cup wins with Richard on the roster.

      • But striker do you spread your ketchup on the grilled cheese like butter? That’s how it’s done son!

      • Ketchup is an over rated condiment. Can’t think of a single food it elevates.
        Mustard on the other hand…

    • Offense is intuition, defense is education.

      Its harder to learn the defensive side of the game and at times it takes some more time to figure it out but when they do their knowledge gains them sol8d on ice positioning and an efficient game.

      Those with talent start out kooking promising but their skill only carries them so far. If they neglect the education side of ghe game and work hard to make it a second chance the best youth start to struggle as the move up teirs.

      • Jeff, 99 % of the time I agree with the education part of D. The rare guys like Doughty just seem to play it naturally, it’s like his brain is wired for reading the fast moving play at a quicker rate than most. He anticipates like no one else and has since he came into the league as a kid.

  3. Tatar will be dealt, he will not be resigned for 6 mil if Holland is smart. They need to rebuild and giving Tatar that kind of money and term is wrong and what got the Wings in this position to begin with. He is a good solid player but not an All Star.

    • Thanks Mike… Makes absolute sense. From Striker’s comment above I would agree that he hasn’t been deployed correctly in Detroit, however he isn’t worth his contract now and certainly not worth what he’s asking for. Trade him and hopefully we have a better player in Frk, Svechnikov or Holmstrom.

  4. The Tavaras trade or sign speculation is getting as tedious as the Duchesne drivel. Same articles reprinted day after day.

    Kovolpuke should just stay in Russia. Is there really a team that will give a 35 yr old quitter 6 or 7 million for a year or two of lacklustre effort just so he can fill his bank account? Buyer beware on this one.

    Tater for 6 or 7 years at 6 million? Seems like a lot of loot for a 20 goal scorer, good luck getting that. Best bet is to call the Canucks and ask for the Louie Eriksson deal of the century.

    • The juvenile name butchering aside, what do YOU know about Kovalchuk’s personal life and the reasons why he decided t go home – he IS a Russian after all – for a few years.

      • George we will have to find out who has glasses in the NHL so we can call them “Four Eyes” and the larger guys could be labeled as “Fatso”. We can take this right down to the childish level. What fun eh? haha!

      • LOL. Yeah, you’re bang on. Maybe I shouldn’t jump on every one of those kind of things – but it is a pet peeve of mine when they twist around names – both players and teams – to make their point, like we used to hear in the schoolyard and playgrounds.

      • He had a signed contract genius. He then decided to play in Russia. He reneged on his Devils contract which makes him a quitter.

      • Jorge

        Always gotta run yer big mouth and try to get in the last word.

        So sad, so desperate, such a shame you need the attention.

        Just for you Jorgie Boy: Cindy, Kovolpuke, Luongoal, Sedin Sisters, Torts, Kaner, Del Saster, Coots, No Show Bo, Conner McGreedy.

        That oughtta hold yah.lol

        Yer pathetic, grow up.

      • About what I expected to hear. Samuel Clemens had the perfect advice for your type “better to keep one’s mouth shut and only appear to be an idiot – rather than open it, thereby removing all doubt.”

      • Bs Jon rull. He busted his but worked underpaid under the rookie contract… made less than market value under the rfa rules… then finally got ufa status and cashed in and when he decided he wanted to raise his family in his homeland he gets chastised? That’s bs. Devils made a deal with the themselves to front pay him and it bit them in the forked tail. Good on Ilya for doing right by him.

  5. Oh and Karlsson os the man. No one is better.


  6. Here is my opinion and it matters for nothing. First my grammar is poor, I glad spell check is available, I often have capfriendly open so I can correctly spell players name, good thing you can’t hear me pronounce them. I don’t care what topic is discuss as long as it relates to hockey. Some days the rumour are the same and there is just one or two, other names they not rumours just a media person doing there own speculations. I try to be respectful to all, but will change my attitude if I’m being disparaged. I’m aware there is certain individual(s) that comment several times per post, I can read or not read (I choose both sometimes). Not a fan when someone uses a female name reference an NHL player. Yes it does bug me, when some comments come across as “This is my opinion and its the only one that matters.” But he/she is entitle to their opinion although it be wrong. Lastly I like short responses my attention span generally doesn’t go more then a paragraph. That’s why I make mine all one, because I don’t know were one ends another begins. Back to hockey

  7. Tatar. 4 years at 5.3. A seasonable compromise.

    • I love seasonable compromises! I shoveled the driveway while my wife made cocoa and rubbed my … feet… afterwards. Or when you want to go to the movies and she wants to go to sandcastle and you go to kennywood instead!

      • what’s kennywood?

      • Heaven on earth…