NHL Rumor Mill – August 3, 2017

by | Aug 3, 2017 | Rumors | 19 comments

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene faces uncertainty over his future as he prepare for the upcoming season.

Updates on Matt Duchene, Evander Kane and Jason Spezza in your NHL rumor mill. 

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon reports Colorado Avalanche forward Matt Duchene admits he and many of his teammates were burnt out by last January after the reality they were out of playoff contention set in. He found it difficult to play out the remainder of the year, especially after starting last season on a high by winning the World Cup as a member of Team Canada.  

Duchene was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate. He was linked to several clubs, including the New York Islanders, Nashville Predators and Montreal Canadiens. “It’s up to the management in Colorado,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. I’m not sure who I’m going to be playing for next year, but it doesn’t matter, you come out with the same intensity here and in the gym.”

After managing only 41 points last season, Duchene hopes to silence his critics this season with a bounce-back performance. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Avalanche’s rumored asking price (an established young top-four defenseman, a first-round pick, a top prospect and perhaps more) is the main reason why Duchene hasn’t been traded yet. There remains genuine interest in his services, but so far, no one wants to meet that price. The New York Post’s Brett Cyrgalis reports Islanders GM Garth Snow has a stockpile of high draft picks and wants to improve his forward ranks and he apparently still has his eye on Duchene.

NBC SPORTS: Mike Halford believes the Buffalo Sabres face a big decision this season with left wing Evander Kane. He’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency and carries a $5.25 million annual cap hit on his current contract. He was also dogged by off-ice issues in recent years and was a fixture in last season’s trade rumor mill. While that speculation has died down of late, Halford notes Kane’s trade value has never been higher thanks to his solid performance last season.

Kane could decide to test the market next summer. Uncertainty over his future in Buffalo could be a distracting issue throughout the coming season. The Sabres’ performance this season could also be a factor. Halford notes the notion of a sign-and-trade scenario was bandied about in the rumor mill, though it would probably make more sense for Kane simply to go to free agency, allowing him the opportunity to decide where he wants to play. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kane’s performance in this coming season will also play a significant part in determining his long-term future. Another strong effort on his part could put pressure upon Sabres management to re-sign him. However, it could cost well over $6 million annually to re-sign him. If Kane plays well but the Sabres once again fall out of playoff contention, they’ll likely entertain offers by the trade deadline. 

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent live chat with Stars fans, Mike Heika admitted he was puzzled by the club’s decision to sign center Martin Hanzal. That could result in Jason Spezza, who prefers playing at center, being moved to the wing. He carries an annual cap hit of $7.5 million for the next two seasons. Heika feels this move could “directly affects his ability to be a successful player.”  If things don’t work out for Spezza this season, he doesn’t rule out the possibility of the veteran getting traded. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the Stars’ struggles last season, Spezza put up a respectable 50 points in 68 games. If they shift him to the wing, it’ll be up to new head coach Ken Hitchcock to get the 34-year-old veteran to buy into that move.

If Spezza develops strong chemistry with Hanzal as the second-line center, it won’t be an issue. it doesn’t work out, they’ll have to shift him back to center and move Hanzal down to the third-line center spot.

Trading Spezza is possible but also difficult. He carries a 10-team no-trade list, but his annual cap hit is also a substantial stumbling block.  His age could also be a factor. 



  1. I would be trying Hanzal at wing not Spezza. Either Faksa or Shore will 3C in Dallas this year.

    Would Spezza be a good fit in Montreal? a bit past his prime but still has game

    • Doubt Spezza has any desire to play for Montreal, It was a known fact that when he was dealt from Ottawa to Dallas that Canadian clubs were on his no trade list and he had no desire to play in a Canadian market.

  2. From mtl id give a 1st rd pick in 2018 for spezza, not more than that…but id prefer RNH for juulsen,1st rd pick 2018 and M. McCarron thats about it i would give the oilers.. Than you have Duchene , 1st rd pick 2018 + something but wouldnt be comfortable giving juulsen along side with a 1st rd pick for him.

    • I don’t think Edmonton is in any rush to trade RNH and I think they will do what they can moving forward to keep him.

      I also don’t think Montreal can really afford to give up much more youth from the top of their prospect pool right now.

      I don’t see Dallas in any hurry to move Spezza not this summer at least.

      They only viable option right now is probably Duchene and everyone knows Montreal is desperate for a center so they would have to over pay.

  3. “Garth Snow has a stockpile of high draft picks”


    Two first and two second next year is a ‘stockpile’???

  4. Hanzal does not skate like a second line centre….
    Juulsen and McCarron (and maybe Fucale) is all MTL has as depth. It had better be a good deal. Duchene maybe but not RNH

    • Are you nuts RNH has less trade value then Duchesne by far … RNH has proven nothing except that he loves being injured …. Also Edmonton will want to dump him asap since they have to sign Leon Dris and Mcdavids contract together spells the end of RNH…. I honestly think he needs to bulk up to skinny … I’d give Edmonton Lindgern a first in 2018 and Pleckanec for edmontons 3rd line Centre … Like that Edmonton isn’t stuck with 6million after this year … They get an amazing Goalie in my opinion is probably the best young goalie around…. a first and a 3rd line centre ….

  5. Guess you must be tired of the ‘cut-&-paste’ about Duschene 🙂

  6. Heu… Silver Seven, what about Charles Hudon, Nikita Scherback, Charlie Lindgren, Jacob de Larose and Victor Mete ? I think even Michael McNiven has more trade value than Fucale…

    • Jacob delarose? Yeah… I dunno. Every team has 2-3 of those guys in their system

  7. BTW, I know I don’t write often, but I have being reading you guys for years, almost everyday and have to say this is one of the best hockey forums on the web. super interesting reading you guys and thank you for all your great work Lyle !

    • Thank you, Mike.

  8. Sign Kane long term. I think he’s worth it. $6M for a player of his age and skills would be a good contract. He’s a first line left winger.

  9. Scherbak is definitely a high end prospect. Missed him.

    The point is Montreal’s cupboard is not that full. Any deal had better be a good one and for some time.

    Duchene could potentially fit the bill but with the risk of his next contract demand in two years. I am not sure the Habs can afford him long term with Price and Weber

  10. Trade Price and Fucale to Edmonton for Draisatl, Nurse, and Talbot.

    • Hahaha

      From Edmonton

  11. Maatta+Hornqvist(expiring contract that will get a first at TDL), Simon(ready now for bottom 9), and next years first for Duchene. Top 4 dman a decent foreword and 2 firsts is a decent haul for a guy that you are done with any ways.

    • The Colorado Avalanche will need to come down on their price on Matt Duchene.

      The Pittsburgh Penguins could be a good trade partner. Määttä is staying unless he suddenly plays bad. A first round draft pick and a top prospect are initial steps to making a trade.

  12. Montreal should shoot Edmonton’s Leon Dris a contract of 9.8 million per for 7 years … Edmonton has to match and then have no choice to trade RNH or tell Edmonton trade me him for so and so and I won’t send an offer sheet for Leon … Same goes for Toronto and other teams in montreals division make them match big contracts and they will have no choice to trade players and hurt the teams around you … even if they do it back like everyone says we have no A prospects so who will they over pay for lol