NHL Rumor Mill – September 15, 2017

by | Sep 15, 2017 | Rumors | 54 comments

An obviously unhappy Matt Duchene poses for his Colorado Avalanche training-camp photo.

Latest on the Avalanche, Bruins and Golden Knights in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE DENVER POST: Mark Kiszla lays blame for Colorado Avalanche winger Matt Duchene’s obvious unhappiness on the opening day of training camp at the feet of general manager Joe Sakic. He feels Duchene should’ve been dealt by last season’s trade deadline, suggesting Sakic’s inability to move the forward this summer resulted in this obvious tiff between the two sides that undercuts Duchene’s trade value.

Kiszla also blames Sakic for the team going off the rails in recent years. “This is an NHL team that desperately needed to hit the reset button. The clueless Avs, however, are right back in crisis mode from Day 1.” 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites TSN’s Darren Dreger and Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman weighing in on the latest in the ongoing Duchene saga.

Dreger wondered about “what the hell is going on with Matt Duchene in Colorado.” He speculates the Montreal Canadiens could still have some interest in the Avs center, as well as the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Nashville Predators reportedly also looked at Duchene earlier this summer, but Dreger said they told him they haven’t been in touch with the Avs for some time. He was also critical of Sakic for seeking a high asking price for Duchene that his rivals aren’t willing to pay.

Friedman believes “the marriage is over” for Duchene and the Avs, believing it’s only a matter of time until the center is traded. He said he knows the New York Islanders were looking at Duchene and thinks the Pittsburgh Penguins did as well, though he didn’t think they had enough to make a deal. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: And on and on it goes. Look, I know some of you are sick and tired of reading about Duchene seemingly every damn day. I’m not exactly thrilled about writing the same stuff every day. But he’s still the hot topic in the rumor mill and his obvious sourness yesterday as he reported for training camp ensures he’ll remain that way until he’s finally dealt.

Sakic and the Avs now have an unhappy player on their hands, but as long as Sakic insists on a big return there’s nothing Duchene can do about it. He must have a strong bounce-back performance this season to entice an interested GM into meeting Sakic’s price. 

BOSTON HERALD: Steve Conroy suggests if the Bruins younger players can step up and contribute this season, it could make some of their veterans expendable. He singles out winger Matt Beleskey ($3.8 million cap hit) and center Ryan Spooner ($2.825 million) as possible trade chips. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Signed through 2019-20, the 29-year-old Beleskey’s annual cap hit and modified no-trade clause could make him tough to move this season. If the Bruins decide to shop him they might have to wait until next summer, when teams have more cap space. Spooner is on a one-year deal and was a frequent topic of trade chatter last season. He could be a more likely in-season trade candidate. 

LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen recently reported Golden Knights GM George McPhee isn’t concerned over his glut of defensemen entering training camp. The club is carrying 11 blueliners on one-way contracts. He said he’ll see how training camp goes and see how they’ll proceed from there. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s expected McPhee could put a couple of defensemen on the trade block before the start of the season. Don’t expect promising Shea Theodore, Nate Schmidt or Colin Miller to be among them.



  1. Mark Kiszla and Darren Dreger aren’t the only ones who lay blame for the Duchene mess at the feet of Clueless Joe Sakic! In yesterday’s That’s Hockey Pierre LeBrun expressed a similar opinion, although he was shouted down by a bug-eyed Craig Button who was angrily adamant that Sakic was “acting like a responsible GM.” If that’s the way Button feels a GM should act it’s small wonder that he never got another offer to be a GM after losing his Calgary job to Sutter 14 years ago.

    • It’s not like Button sucked as an NHL executive George O. He was Director of Scouting for the Dallas Starts from 92 – 98, Director of player personnel from 98-00. Cup champions in 99 and a cup contender for a decade. He played a crucial role in that.
      Brought in many of the pieces that contributed to the Flames cup run in 04 when he was GM 00-03.
      No debating Sutter is a great coach, how was his record as a GM? I lived in Calgary during that time, and will say not great.
      As a TSN analyst, I find his style a bit annoying and opinions sometimes a little whacky, but most of the time he does make interesting assessments of players and especially prospects which is where he had very good success.

      • Last year on TSN he was asked if the leafs had to worry about Boston in the playoff race. He said Boston, don’t give them a second thought their not going anywhere they just fired one of the best coaches in the league and they got nothing, they are not going anywhere.

      • Ray, all those positions he held in the NHL paid, I am sure, a lot more than he earns as a TV analyst. So why, if he accomplished so much (and here I am not questioning the successes you list), has someone not hired him in one of those capacities in 14 years? There has to be an underlying reason.

      • there is a distinct line between success pre cap and post cap. very few gm’s successfully bridged that.

      • I’m not a huge Button fan but perhaps it’s a life style choice, he has a family issue that precludes him from doing so, or a personal 1, who knows?

        That said he has been an NHL insider for a very long time & is respected by many. I rarely agree with him but I do in this situation.

        You can’t just trade Duchene for the sake of getting him off the team. This is a very good player on the ice, judging him on the mess in Colorado last season isn’t a reflection of his true abilities & apparently that’s all the offers being made are prepared to do or at least we assume so.

        There has certainly been some personality trait rumors that have surfaced about Duchene in the past & he & Roy butted heads often.

        Like everyone I wish it would get resolved so we can stop talking about it but in the meantime we keep repeating the same arguments having the same discussions.

        I have Duchene for 20 to 25 goals, 50 to 55 points playing in Colorado this season if he stays healthy. Moving a 6 mil cap hit in season is no easy feat & seriously limits potential trade partners. This could, & I hope it doesn’t drag right into next summer.

      • Button was the GM in Calgary when the decision was made to let Marty St. Louis go. He was terrible, and I can hardly stand listening to him on TSN.

      • Button’s comments on Boston was a bunch of crap. It was time for Julien to go – he had outlived his stay with the Bruins. Bruce Cassidy’s upbeat style of hockey is like a breath of fresh air! In fact, Button only jumped on the Sens bandwagon, when they played Pittsburgh. Button’s a Maple Leaf apologist and a wacky one at that!

      • When Martin St Louis was a young player know one thought he be any good.

        I grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick. At the time the city’s team was tge fkames farm team. I remember at a young age me and my brothes screaming at the coach to play St. louis. They preferred another player. Fast as hell he was, but his play consisted of him going straight up the ice as shooting the puck. Fast ans predictable. That players mame Ricco Fata.

        I auspect many questions St Louis potential. Mainly due to his stature.

        Im muat be getting old. Starting to tell stories of my youth.

    • Why on earth would Craig Button want to be a GM in the NHL, a job he already has shown he is not really qualified for, when he holds the coveted job as Director of Amatuer Scouting for TSN? The only reason Button is in the business is because of his father. He like some to point out he was part of a cup winning team in Dallas, they won that cup despite of him not because of any contribution he made. The usher in the nosebleed seats contributed more!

      • Wow, picking on a guy who defended Sakic, what’s with Button bashing? The fact of the matter is that Duchene is a selfish under achieving player who is paid too much, playing too many top line minutes and not producing like he should, maybe it is the environment – who knows, but Sakic has the right to get what he thinks is fair value. for Duchene as he is under contract for two more years-I know if I were the GM and Duchene was acting like a jerk, I’d make him sit out the entire year!

      • john, why is, in your opinion, Duchene a “selfish under achieving player …???” On what basis do you come up with that crapola? Point to ONE instance where he has demanded a trade? Pinpoint for us, while you’re at it, how and when he twisted the arm of the GM who gave him his current contract. Do you have evidence of blackmail?

        Rarely have I ever seen assumptions turned into facts.

        The only fact in this sad scenario is that his named has been bandied about in trade rumors for over a year and maybe, just maybe, he has grown weary over the constant questioning about something over which he has NO control. To use an eloquent adage, Sakic, it’s time to s^#t or get off the pot.

  2. I am going to take Duchene’s stance- ” No Comment “.

    Beleskey and a bag of chips gets you what exactly ?

    • More like Belesky and a 2nd round pick will get you a bag of chips. Sweeney have have to give in order to get that contract off the books, or eat a good portion of it.

  3. Lyle, you can type whatever the heck you like cause I’m gonna read it anyway.
    I come here every day, and read and chuckle and shake my head, and then I check back to see what the other fanatics have to say about each other’s comments.
    I thank you for your service, as it starts my day, everyday.

    • +1

    • i have done the same for the last 6 years daily–now spark some blozak rumors lol

    • I’ve lost track. I want to say since about 98 possibly sooner. Lyle when did you start this gig? Boy am I getting old.

      • Started in 1998. Sept. 22 marks my 19th year doing Spector’s Hockey.

      • I found out about this site in 1998 (maybe 99) back when Paul Steigerwald was still on radio and he did an intermission segment spotlighting hockey related websites back when they were relatively new.

      • man… you had to cover the Frantisek Kuchera trade off the pens back in 2001. what a trip that was.

      • It’s a pleasure, great format, insight & style. I may not always agree, take you to task occasionally but a go to site, top 3, I also read your rumor round up on THN. I make every effort to click your ad links to help drive your revenue streams.

      • Holy crap,Lyle, and I was a senior citizen even then! Anyway, congratulations on a great site to keep the guessing (and hoping) juices flowing among the rabble.

  4. The Duchene situation is a total mess, Yzerman was able to salvage the Drouin mess, but that was a very different team with an upside (playoffs every year).

    If Duchene goes and they go into full rebuild why not shop McKinnon and see what could be had? definitely a mix of first round picks plus a top prospect.

    • Colorado is in a full rebuild. They have been for at least 2 years, possibly 3 depending upon your perspective.

      The 2 headed monster ownership put in place was a disaster. Sakic didn’t hire Roy & give him an equal say in player personal decisions. When the 2 were at odds & ownership supported Sakic, Roy quit. That was last summer.

      This is a business, players are assets & you don’t just give assets away, whether they player likes it or not.

      I admire Duchene for honoring his contract, yes it is a bad situation but it will eventually be worked out. Duchene honoring his contract will serve him well. Now go out on the ice & be the player you have been every season but last, help drive up your trade value so you can be traded.

      Whether Colorado is a playoff team like TB or not is irrelevant. I responded To LeBrun’s tweet yesterday as just trading Duchene for the best deal currently available to eliminate the distraction is a terrible idea. Colorado isn’t going any where this season, they will be better, scoring 40 to 50 more goals, but they will still be the 2nd worst team in the west with or with out the Duchene distraction.

  5. Have to concur this was handled badly BUT…I think Duchesne is a very very overated player..and from a character perspective you are seeing the same thing. All that said, Sakic should also realize that and dump him- circle back and do the galchenyuk for Duschesne….it’s a win win- or a lose lose..

  6. I get why Sakic hasn’t sold Duchene for cheap. I would do the same. GM’s are circling like vultures hoping to get him for below market value. and if I was them, I would do the same.
    Solution – Duchene needs to play better and like he can. Both get what they want. Not rocket science.
    He needs to get to work, have a good time being back with the boys, and play for his buddies and team mates. Hell they may even win a few more games.
    I don’t know how he can look a guy like Landeskog in the eye and act like a pouting little boy. Work hard, be a good team mate, and try to win a few games. Look in the mirror Matt, don’t point fingers at Sakic. (who happened to excel on a crappy team, and then led them to cups)
    Just another self perceived victim. Poor little Matty.
    People like him drive me crazy.

    • A good summary of things for Duchene. He has control of one thing in all this – himself. He can choose to play hard and be a team guy, or he can be a whiner. His choice here is critical to his reputation and his career. For his sake, I hope he does the right thing.

    • I totally agree Ray Bark. Whatever the situation has become, its all in Duchene’s hands now. His attitude has placed him squarely in the position he finds himself. He has always had control of his own Destiny. I personally wanted him traded above all other players most the past 3 years. His constant whining to the refs every time a call doesn’t go his way, his tendency to pout, etc. I have always thought he was a bit childish in maturity, but I thought he would grow out of it. Not apparently yet. But, it has been his play that seems to have dropped of in recent years stemming back to the season where he broke his other arm. Since then his play has been streaky and he his boldness with the puck has vanished. He is now playing a perimeter game and trying to be an evasive player rather than an attacking one. He isn’t good at the evasive game. He is best when attacking the net with speed and in and around the net which he has now shyed away from. And as I listened to BSN Denver’s podcast with A.J. Heiffle and Adrien Dater I became aware that there are some bigger personality issues with Duchene in the locker room than I had imagined. I had a hunch, but these two Avs reporters gave a little more insight into Duchene’s locker room chemistry with his teammates. They didn’t expand on it, but they eluded to it enough.

      I have been learning through this entire situation that for however good or bad Sakic handled this situation, other than offering Duchene to a few GM’s, Sakic isn’t really the person to be blaming in this Duchene fiasco. He has been largely taken advantage of, as have the entire organization. Duchene hasn’t been held hostage (He made his own circumstances on this), but the whole TSN, Sportsnet, etc. Insiders have held Sakic and the Avs hostage here. This entire debacle is on these media outlets. Dreger stirs the pot and everyone else gathers excitedly for the gossip. If you take a reasonably unbiased look at the whole situation around Duchene since the media announced to the world that he was up for grabs, they have been the only people trying to trade Duchene to every suitor in the league. They have been far more enthusiastic about getting him traded than anyone else. The blood is on their hands, and they can be blamed just as much as Sakic, and most likely more, for him not being traded yet. The media has intentionally or unintentionally chipping away at Duchene’s value and trying to pry him out of Colorado cheaply. They are the ones making it impossible for Sakic to even get a decent return. Everyone has been waiting for the bargain the media has ensured. Not one thing about this has come from Sakic’s own mouth. These hysterics have solely been the media preying on Colorado for whatever their gain is. This is why I defend Sakic. The media has tied his hands, smeared his and Duchene’s name through the mud, and forced their own trespasses on Sakic. It is malicious and unprofessional from a media group I esteem highly. Any anger you feel about this situation has been manipulated into you soley by the media working both ends against the middle. See how frustrated they are when Sakic just won’t cooperate with their desires? And Matt can pout all he wants, that is just going to keep him around longer.

      Adrien Dater said on this podcast that when he talked with Sakic this week at the tourney in San Jose that he got the impression that Sakic doesn’t care what anyone thinks. And that they can just go pound sand if they don’t like it. Sakic is doing what he said he would do and try to make this team better. He isn’t trading Duchene for a discount. Everyone is perplexed why Sakic hasn’t caved. The simple reason is he can’t and he Won’t. The media has put everyone in this uncomfortable position themselves. The Avs don’t need to answer to anyone. The media already took away their own advantage by kicking the organization around this summer and making them an irrelevant player this season. No one already cares about the Avs so nothing is expected of them anyway, not even the owners. To them the Avs were just a throw in with the nuggets and just came extra with the Pepsi Center.

      And as far as I’m concerned, the media and Duchene can go cry to each other.

      I just want to say Lyle…
      That I am not including you in this media driven saga. You just bring the “dete’s” and I have come here everyday since you have been Spector’s Hockey. You are absolutely the best, most informed, and most reliable hockey person I have ever patroned. You are my favorite by miles. And, even though on an occasion I don’t share your opinion, I have always had the highest respect for what you have to say and what you cover on this site. I came across your site in the late 90’s when I first got internet and was looking for rumors and you are the first site I visit upon awakening, and also sometimes the last before I retire at night. I rely on your take before I dare venture out into the cold world of rumors and fanatics to get a solid foundation to surf on.

      I surely appreciate what you do for us die-hard hockey fans. You are the welcome voice of reason in the unreasonable world of hockey rumors and fanatical opinions.

      • That was an awesome, and well informed, rant Streamfisher. Simply awesome.
        From a fellow fisher, (rivers and lakes).

      • Rivers are my specialty. Love me some trout!

      • Finally, someone gets it! Spot on and Duchene is as much to blame as Sakic, but Sakic probably was trying to light a fire under his bum to see how he responded with the trade talks. We all see the 27 year old, 6 million a year player acting like a Terrell Owens. There’s no denying Matt’s talent, but his emotions and professionalism is a whole other mess in itself!

  7. We have to ask about what’s going on with the Duchene situation? Sakic is asking for too much. It’s pretty simple.

  8. To circle back to Noel’s comment trading MacKinnon might very well be the long term cure that ails the Avalanche; however, I am sure the fan base in Colorado would not be happy with that move! The reality is if Joe wants this to get even uglier he will continue to sit and not deal Duchene. But doing this may start to have his franchise player, MacKinnon, look elsewhere also.

    We all may think this is a mess and it does appear that way. But maybe Sakic is betting on a bounce back effort from Duchene. Ray Bark makes a good point in suggesting Duchene take some responsibility here and play to his potential. If so, he could allow Joe an opportunity to trade a good player to a contending team at the trade deadline come playoff time. At the end of the day until he gets traded he is still playing the game he loves, apparently, and making lots of money doing it.

    So I guess what I am saying is that, like Ray Bark, I don’t have a whole lot of sympathy for him. But I also think Sakic needs to make a deal. It is getting pretty silly overall.

    • McKinnon just signed a 7 year deal last summer. He’s Colorado property for a very long time.

      I could careless if a player wants to be traded, they signed a deal to play for that team & now they need to honor it. Should they choose to hold out like Drouin, they get suspended with out pay & in his case his contract would have been ported had he not capitulated & returned. 40 games constitutes a season played on his ELC.

      If a fair trade can be found to accommodate there trade request fine if not they play for as long as it may take, Hamonic, Drouin, etc. Not ideal but you can’t just give assets away. Nor can you be shown to be weak or every player who wants out will repeat the process.

      In the real world if you want to break a contract, there are usually terms to get out, there are shotgun clauses, etc. or you make the other party an offer they just can’t refuse.

      Players want it both ways, they want the security of a long term deal but also the right to choose where they play. You want that right don’t sign such a long term deal. Seems pretty simple to me.

      Lets drop the puck already.

      • I see your point Striker, however, in hockey, and team sports in general, it is detrimental to keep players around who do not want to be there. If Sakic were serious about trading him he would have done it by now. So if he is unhappy like Drouin then sit him, or hold a press conference and tell everybody you are not trading him. Again this is a very simple matter. Joe is simply overvaluing his player. He is not worth the asking price.

        And yes!! Please let’s the puck already!

      • I don’t disagree with you on how it effects the team but this is professional sports, huge monies & personalities in play for everyone. Sakic isn’t necessarily over valuing Duchene just not valuing him based on last season alone, nor should he like many here wish to do. We really don’t know what Sakic wants, all hearsay, we make assumptions as does anyone but the D component is obvious to all.

        When the right offer comes along I assume Duchene will be moved. That may not be for a long time if at all. Perhaps what ever is in play works it’s self out moving forward & Duchene stays?

        Why would Colorado & Sakic sit Duchene? What is gained there?

        When I look at the roster Colorado iced to start last season it was brutal. Couldn’t even ice 6 top 6 forwards to flush out those 2 lines, thier 3rd & 4th lines were average by AHL quality, they had the worst D in the league both on paper & in reality. What I don’t get nor can still wrap my head around his how the #1 PP could be so bad. Duchene, McKinnon, Landeskog, Barrie & Rantanen.

        By year end Colorado had added Nieto, Andrighetto both significant upgrades over the crap they were dressing, Compher saw 21 games, Jost 6, both will be full time NHL players this season, The acquired Wilson in trade with Nashville this summer & they & NJ swapped UFA college players. Greer, Bigras & Mironov will all be full time NHL players at some point this season.

        There is a light starting to appear at the end of that tunnel & it isn’t a train. Ha-ha!

  9. Sakic is a Kevin Lowe 2.0

    • Ouch!

    • We’ll need another 7 years before we can make that assessment. The only player Sakic has drafted yet to play in the NHL is Rantanen. We will get to see a few more this season.

      • Striker, How do I download your voice of reason into my psyche? It’s pretty darn sound, my man.

  10. Gotta love the pouty face Matt in the photo shoot. Hey, after all, everyone is human.
    But again, on the flip side, you need to be professional and do your job and honor your dang contract. I’m in agreement with all these whiny athletes shedding tears when they don’t get their way 100% of the time.
    Sakic wants a large return, and he does need to understand that time will run out on this saga in the next year anyhow.
    If a team loses a few forwards , or if #9 tears it up this year, then I am sure a GM will call Joe and work out a deal that appeases both sides.
    It shall backfire though, if Matt plays poorly and also is being a bad teammate his stock will then plummet.
    But it’s still fair to say, if teams want a top talent , then they have to give up a very good piece. I feel 2 pieces is plenty to orchestrate this deal.
    I have been clamoring for a straight up Hanifin deal from the Canes, or even Carlo from the Bruins. I agree with other Gm’s that he is not worthy of additional top prospect and also a 1st rounder.

  11. Don’t worry folks Grigerenko and Zadorov are future stars Sakic is a genius

    • I’d gladly make you a gentlemen’s bet that Zadaorov is a 1st or 2nd pairing top 2 Dmen by the time he turns 26. 4 years from now.

      I’d love to bet monies but how would I collect?

      • 1-800-collect

  12. Joe Sakic deserves blame for many things.

    Matt Duchene’s happiness or unhappiness is not one of them.

    He’s an adult. Supposedly. He’s a professional. Purportedly. He signed a contract with no gun to his head.

    If he’s unhappy being on a losing team, well, he shares as much or more blame for that as anyone by vastly under performing his contract.

    • This is pretty dead on. I support his right to retire if he is pissed, his right to hold out and get suspended and not paid, I support his right to ask for a trade… but be professional when you show up to work. Smile for the camera foo.

      • Agreed. It has to be stressful though, every where you go your getting a microphone stuffed in your face & asked the same basic question. Not fun but that’s part of why your making 6 mil a year US, about 20 times the average salary of a CDN family of 4 factor in currency exchange…

        Unfortunately the business side of hockey comes into to play often & you have to just suck it up & do what’s best for you & your team.

      • 6 million is 20 times the average household income in Canada?
        So the average Canadian household income is 300K? Geez, I’m poor AF

      • Sorry Taz that was supposed to read 200 times not 20.

        The average income in Can for a family of 4 is about 38K. 38X200=7.6 mil Cdn. That converts to 6.16 mil US at todays exchange rate.

  13. Zadarov 2 years a 2.125. Far closer to Sakic’s 2 than Zadarovs 2.5.

    Only 2 RFA’s left on the board. Anderson & AA.

    • Comparables had Zads at 1.7 and Avs offered 2.0, a 100% raise on his last contract. This is a good deal for both sides.

  14. Ive long been of the opinion a good GM managers his team as well as the players he signs and trades.

    I remember most of you argued against this stance but seem to actually support it.

    Sakic is doing his best to get a great deal dir Duchene. Something a good GM should do. Colorado wont be much better afyer the trade so why rush. Yet he obviously has upset Duchene. He isnt just an asset but has a lide of his own to live which is likely atuck in limbo till he discovers where he be living next.

  15. Off topic. That’s hockey tonight did a story on the leafs and matthews. What struck me was the acknowledgement the leafs are protecting him and other players from the media. Holding of the C and stuff.

    Bout time. That was a sore aoot for decades. It seems the leaf under this new age management are getting things right.

    As a Sens fans. I think i shouldnt like it. But good for them