NHL Rumor Mill – September 30, 2017

by | Sep 30, 2017 | Rumors | 43 comments

Matt Duchene could open the season with the Colorado Avalanche.

Updates on Matt Duchene, Jaromir Jagr and Chris Neil in your NHL rumor mill.

THE DENVER POST: In a recent Q&A with his readers, Mike Chambers said it appears center Matt Duchene will open the season with the Colorado Avalanche. He adds there’s no rush to move him if management is happy with the defense to start the season. Chambers doubts Duchene’s presence will adversely affect his relationship with his teammates.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Friday on Edmonton’s 630 CHED discussing the latest on Duchene. He notes things have been quiet of late but doesn’t know if it’s because there’s no trade discussions at this time or merely the lull before the storm.

Friedman believes the Columbus Blue Jackets remain “very, very much in it.” He also thinks the Nashville Predators are “circling” while the Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks have been “in and out.”  With center Ryan Kesler sidelined, Friedman suggests the Ducks are a team that could make that deal.

THE ATHLETIC: Graeme Nichols recently examined the pros and cons of the Ottawa Senators making a move for Duchene. He feels the addition of Duchene would address the Sens’ long-term need for a top-six forward at left wing. He could also become a contingency plan if contract talks with center Kyle Turris go south. Among the cons are the high cost of taking on his $6 million annual salary and keeping him in the fold long-term, as well as the Avs’ high asking price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What, did you really think we could get through an entire week without an update on Matt Duchene?

After weeks of non-stop speculation, things have grown quiet of late. Maybe it’s the calm before the storm but I think it’s because no one is willing to meet the Avs’ asking price. Teams are undoubtedly interested in Duchene but until the Avs seek a more reasonable return or someone gets desperate, he’s not going anywhere. 

NBC SPORTS: Cam Tucker cites Andy Strickland reporting the agent for unrestricted free agent winger Jaromir Jagr said he’s currently in talks with three NHL teams. Tucker recalls there was speculation linking Jagr to the Calgary Flames earlier this summer, while St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong admitted there were internal discussions regarding the veteran forward. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Flames lack scoring depth at right wing while the Blues are looking to plug gaps in their injury-riddled forward lines. Either of them could be taking a serious look at the 45-year-old Jagr. 

LA PRESSE: Guillaume Lefrancois reports agent Todd Reynolds said the Montreal Canadiens were among the teams that expressed interest in his client, former Ottawa Senators enforcer Chris Neil. Reynolds said the Habs offered up a professional tryout offer but Neil seeks a full-time NHL contract. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs appear to lack skilled blueline depth and have a longstanding need for a scoring center. Neil addresses none of those concerns. . 



  1. I must admit I had harbored secret thoughts that the Leafs would sign Neil simply to underscore what I have always said about certain “fans” who will transform from unmitigated hate to fawning adoration in the blink of an eye. Never thought the Habs would show interest though. Anyway, it’s all academic – he’s done and should just go quietly into the night.

    I think he’s one of those pro athletes who looks at retirement this way: the question isn’t at what age I want to retire – it’s at what income!

  2. I believe most players have the mind set of “you are going to have to rip the sweater off my back ” I think that is Neil’s position for sure.

    Striker- Debrusk is still in the mix. I say he makes it.

    I wonder if Tippet makes Flo and Tuch makes VGK. ?

    • Silverscreen, i’m not Striker, but yes Debrusk and Bjork will be on the open night roster.
      The fact Debrusk has played every game with Pastrnack and Krecji leads to that. I believe the only one who might have taken that spot was Cehlarik but just being cleared for contact and not playing tonight, we won’t be ready to start. It’s both Bjork and Debrusk spot to lose once the season starts.
      The question now is will Subban clear waivers, what team would want to take him and use him as there backup?

      • Caper, that seems like a risk that the B’s won’t take. We don’t have a great read on him yet because of the injuries, but he played really well the last half of the season in PRO. Pretty safe to send Khudobin down and considering how he played last year is there really a drop off?
        A team that has no playoff aspirations would definitely take a flyer on him IMO.
        I keep Subban in Boston.

      • There appears to be about 3 teams that could make Subban a back up if so inclined, LA, Min & Nas, although I assume Saros plays as the back up or do they prefer him playing more in the AHL? There are 4 others who have an older back up that they might be willing to shed for a younger option making less money, Cal, NYR, TB & Tor. Bos would be 5 as Khudobin fits this description as well.

        That said Van waived Markstrom several years ago & he went unclaimed. Would anyone select him & will Boston even try? Khudobin could be waived as Raybark suggests & that may make sense for the same reason I stated above as well.

    • It appears Debrusk may break camp with Boston. He has played 3 preseason games I have seen none of them, so I look to stats & reports made by those that have. 0 points, -3 & 7 shots. Will he get more than 9 games? Heinen broke camp with Boston last season & got 8 games.

      Belesky has been battling an injury & Vatrano has been buried for some reason. Waivers are going to factor into this equation some how.

      Will Boston waive Subban? What about Vatrano? Acciari doesn’t need to clear waivers but everyone else does except for the kids still up Bjork, Debrusk & FK.

      By the 12 game mark things have away of returning to what should be. Jobs can be won or lost once the grind kicks in. Debrusk making it past a cup of coffee would surprise me but thankfully being a Bruins fan in a positive way.

      • Kind of like that 18 y/o kid in Ottawa, Alex Formenton, a LW with blinding speed who, at age 15, was 5′ 5″ and an 11th round pick in the OHL (London) and who, this year, sprouted up to 6′ 2″ and became a 2nd round pick (47th overall), and has stuck around in the Sens camp to the final game tonight in Montreal.

        Consensus is, however, that he’ll be sent back to London for further development and to pack on a bit more beef to bring him up from 165 lbs.


      • I love these kids that come out of no where. I don’t follow prospects outside the NHL/AHL that closely until after February, except for the stud draft picks really, at which point I start researching major junior & college stats, & reading prospect reports looking for diamonds in the rough so to speak.

        Tanev was a very similiar story but literally went undrafted.

        Any idea why Ottawa hasn’t signed Alex Formenton yet George? They sit at 47 contracts & some can be designated non roster players. No idea who that system works in the NHL. Something to do with sliding contracts if sent back to jr or Europe, KHL, etc.

      • What happened to the slight sneer towards the tiny fellows George? Did you come around?

      • My position has always been – if given a choice between a good big man and a good little one, common sense dictates that, given the physical nature of the game, you go for the big one.

        Having said that, I must admit the changes to the rules over the years where hits are concerned, and the resulting trend towards more free-wheeling, has opened the door to more and more small-stature guys. In Formenton’s case, however, he is 6′ 2″ and apparently still growing at 18, and he will eventually pack more weight as time goes by. What that does to his blinding speed remains to be seen.

      • I watched most of every pre-season game. DeBrusk looked great out there, as did Bjork. They will 100% crack the line up UNLESS the trade rumor of Duchene coming to Boston happens. That puts DeBrusk back in the A. oston will put Subban on Waivers and send him back, Khudobin had a solid game the other night. Subban looked good, but not stellar enough yet. He is the injury call up guy.
        The big question for Boston I see is the 3rd line. Who is slotting in with Spooner and Backes? There are many options. If it were me, based on training camp performance, Id go with Forsbacka-Karlsson out of camp. Cehlarik needs a couple games to get ready but will challenge, as will.

        I know what you are thinking – what about Beleskey. Trade him, his 3.8 million cap hit is ridiculous. Trade him for a draft pick.

        Defence – When Krug is back the final 6 is a tight ship too. Chara McAvoy / Krug Carlo / Postma O’Gara
        I left both McQuaid and Miller off. McQuaid will be safe until Krug is back, but then he becomes a healthy scratch with Miller. Miller being 2.5 McQuaid 2.75 cap hits – neither worth it when there are young guys challenging for the bottom 2 spots that will play harder when given the chance.

        So if you can trade Miller and Beleskey that frees up just over 6 million in cap space, and we have 2.6 left in space now.

        So the options are to either aggressively go after Duchene OR go after a solid proven top 4 Defence as Chara is on his final year of his contract, and while Loyalty is one thing, I am not sure they extend him.

  3. TSN is reporting today that Jagr will not be playing for Kladno this weekend. Stay tuned folks.

    On the Duchene front I think the Ducks make the most sense. Lots of defensive depth and starting to age up front. Have the Ducks been linked to this before now?

    • Steven maybe STL for Jagr and they may also pluck Agostino off waiver today from Boston, as he was their property last season.

    • This quote about/from Jagr was on the wire yesterday

      “He had said he would play Saturday for Rytiri Kladno, a second-tier team he owns. After practice Friday, he said he is waiting to see how discussions with NHL clubs turn out before he plays with the Czech club.

      “I won’t play for Kladno because there are still some negotiations in the NHL. Those teams don’t want me to play here and I have to respect that,” Jagr said, according to iDNES.cz.

  4. Good lord, the last thing we need is Chris Neil.

    We need scoring and obviously a first line center but they are clearly hard to get.

    We’ve got the cap space, if anything grab Jagr and toss him on a line with Plekanics. He’s still got some juice in his tank (although a bit on the slow side), but they’ve had chemistry in international hockey.

    Could reinvigorate Pleky after a bad season.

  5. Can’t believe nobody has taken a chance on Jagr. The guy continues to produce year after year & is in great shape. As for Chris Neil I can’t believe he’s even in the rumor mill. He offers absolutely nothing to any team. He can’t score, no defense, too slow & to dress someone just to send out & drop the gloves is no longer in the NHL.

    • Agree 100%.

  6. This is not a rumor, but I find it very interesting what’s going on in the flyer camp. Tough decision whether to keep two or three rookie defenceman (Morin, Haag, Sanheim), also there’s potential that a veteran like Matt read on the forward line will get sent down. In favour of Taylor Leir. Also Nolan Patrick is slotted in as 2nd line center.The flyer line up could be substantially revamped this year.

    • Philly’s D situation is some what unique at present. Most teams don’t carry young developing Dman at the #7/8 spots as they see little icetime but with 5 D essentially set in Provorov, Ghost, MacDonald, Gudas & Manning might Philly rotate 3 younger Dman in the #6 spot until injuries open up more playing time. It’s an odd situation.

      Most teams carry guys like Holzer, Clendening, Connauton, Postma, Tennyson, etc. Guys who are paid to sit & dress rarely. Dman that really have no NHL future but to make at or near the league min & dress when last minute injuries, illness, personal reasons or coaches decision don’t allow enough time to bring a better player up from the minors.

      It doesn’t serve Morin, Hagg or Sanheim well to play this role. They need to play & log decent minutes or are better served playing a far greater role in the AHL. Sending 1 down; Hagg, & rotating the other 2, Sanheim & Morin, in the #6 slot & picking something off the waiver wire for the #8 spot might be an option.

      Or does Philly waive MacDonald & make room for all of them? That’s a ton of youth to dress at D at 1 time, generally not a recipe for success.

      • I see them keeping 2 rookies on D. Top 6 in no particular order: Provorov, Ghost, Morin, Haag or Sanheim, Gudas, MacDonald, with Manning being the 7th and only getting dressed in case of injury.

      • That’s basically how I see it at present as well, although I see Manning still getting starts with some degree of consistency. I see him & Hagg sharing icetime with Sanheim getting about every 4th or 5th game off as long as he can handle the role & minutes.

        With out trying to peg exact games played as who can determine what injuries will play out I assume Sanheim will play the most, Manning 2nd & Hagg 3rd. Although I’m not certain MacDonald’s icetime is secure. Philadelphia has waived & buried him before.

        If he falters & the kid’s play better they make take the 950K cap relief & bury his contract & if things go really well perhaps they spend some of that almost 6 mil in cap space to secure a decent 4/5 veteran & let Hagg develop more in the minors.

  7. wonder if this is also the end of the road for Scottie Upshall after his release by the Canucks or, will he now sign with St. Louis as was reported a day or so back? If he does, do they really want TWO old crocks by bringing in Jagr as well?

  8. If the Neil rumour to Habs true, just tells you how Marc Bergevin is either desesperate or incompetent. I would vote for both.

  9. Flyers better revamp their lineup Scott. Giroux should be moved to the wing and all those rookies you mentioned should be included on their opening night roster, and be given every opportunity to succeed this year. Hextall has nothing to lose. His job is probably on the rocks anyway.

    • Hextall has built 1 of the best prospect systems in the NHL right thru the line up. I think ownership knows that they are a borderline playoff team due to all the youth being integrated to the line up in the very near future.

      Filppula & Lehtera are stop gaps to be replaced come the trade deadline if not holding down a playoff spot.

      Philadelphia would need a ton to go perfectly to get into the playoffs this season.

    • No way Hextall job is in jeopardy. Flyers have the consensus number one prospect pool in the league. This is due to Hextall. Ownership has bought in to the rebuild and it is beginning to bear fruit.

    • Can’t stand the Flyer being a Penguins fan but..Ron Hextall has put together a solid prospect pool and farm system…

    • Why has philly not come up with duschene? Sandheim 1st rounder and another pick seems fair. Bumps Claude to wing.

      • Fair to most everyone except Clueless Joe.

      • Chrisms…Sakic wants so much for Duchense its scary…

  10. Teams need to submit their 23 man rosters in 3 days, Oct 3rd, going to be very interested to see what decisions teams make when push comes to shove & how those rosters are adjusted on Oct 4th when players can be placed on LTIR to secure full cap relief.

    If Det doesn’t make a trade they will need to designate Fransen to LTIR before Oct 3rd sacrificing some cap relief. Might they pay a team to take this contract off their hands? It’s insured so really other than the cap hit if the acquiring team has the space it’s just a question of cost to Det. His actual salary is only 2 mil so would only cost the acquiring team 400K, their approx share of the cost after insurance.

    Might Det give up Ott’s 2nd to rid themselves of this headache like Flo did last season with Savard to NJ?

  11. Great observation on Franzen Striker. Detroit should do exactly what you just suggested. They will definitely find a taker for a 2nd rounder. Maybe Shero in NJ will do it again this year. But does Holland even see this as an option out of a toxic situation? Honestly, with the way he’s been running his team over the last few years, I seriously doubt it.

    • He kind of did that last season with Datsyuk at the draft, moved down 4 spots & picked up the 53rd pick from Arz to unload his cap hit. I’m still shocked it cost so little to do so.

  12. I ended up with Jagr in both my fantasy drafts this week. Drafted him in 1 & traded for him the day following in another. In our scoring system he was the 21st best RW last season in both pools, we dress 3 RW’s each week, 1 pool has 20 teams, the other 16. That makes Jagr a solid #2 in both.

    My hope is he ends up in Chi after they place Hossa on LTIR but really it doesn’t matter to me where he plays as long as he plays. The cost to acquire him was nominal. In the 20 team league we protect 12, that’s 240 keepers, I selected him in with the 2nd pick in the 3rd round; 282nd overall, & in the 16 team league we protect 9, 144 keepers, I traded Anderson Tor; drafted 11th pick 5th round, 219th overall, & a 15th for Jagr & a 3rd. I still have Quick & Darling as goalies in that pool.

    Jagr is slow but he can still post solid points. In the right situation 15 to 20 goals & 45 to 50 points is a reasonable expectation if he plays at least 75 games.

    • @Striker. I like Jagr too but..

      Jagr wants to be paid in the $3.5-4 million annual salary range even at his age. Most GM’s would rather pay that to somebody else who’s much younger and more resilient to the physical play of the NHL.

      What I’m saying here is I’d hate to see Jagr laid out on the ice by some guy like Jake Dotchin who seems to have picked up where Matt Cooke left off when it comes to
      questionable hits.

  13. Please win tonight,

    Go vancouver canucks

    • A girl!?!? Quick everyone, put your pants back on! No more blogging in your tighty whities! 😋

      • Ha-ha!

      • Why do I get the impression this is Stuart’s Comic Book Shop on Bug Bang Theory and Penny just walked in wearing a halter top?

    • Rachelle, a win tonight does nothing for them. It’s like a team going 14-0 in the Grapefruit League in the Spring. Means zilch.

  14. BIG Bang …sheesh – Lyle you GOTTA do something about that faded script

    • George, cataract surgery an option perhaps?

  15. I still believe Rangers could be interested in Duchene. Current roster has Chytil as 4th center coming out of preseason games. 7th overall pick Anderson went back to Europe. Nieves back to AHL. Hard to believe kid that just turned 18 will stick after 9 games. Also, Dman Pionk sent down after a good camp, but no room, even with team carrying 8D. With the sudden depth at defense, I think Skjei can be expendable. With Macdonaugh needed a new deal in 2 years, it might make sense to unload the guy who will be a rfa next season. Only problem would be AV’s would need to take back some salary. Ideally, Rangers would love to move Staal if he’d waive nmc. I think writing is on wall for him as far as playing time this season. Lucky to be 6th d this year. I would definitely give up a 1st rd pick if Staal included in deal.