NHL Rumor Mill – September 7, 2017

by | Sep 7, 2017 | Rumors | 26 comments

Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene continues to dominate the NHL rumor mill.

Latest on Matt Duchene, James van Riemsdyk and more in your NHL rumor mill.

 TSN: Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene tops Frank Seravalli’s trade board for the upcoming season. He notes Duchene’s absence from a recent voluntary skate involving Avalanche players raised eyebrows, stoking speculation he might not report to training camp next week. Duchene and the club declined to comment and his agent Pat Brisson would only say his client is skating in Toronto.

Seravalli observes the Nashville Predators, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens, Boston Bruins, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes and Calgary Flames have been linked to Duchene throughout this summer. One of the complicating factors is Duchene has just two seasons remaining on his contract before his eligibility for unrestricted free agency in 2019. It’s also too early to sign him to an extension.

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Duchene and teammate Gabriel Landeskog sit atop Matt Larkin’s list of the top-10 NHL trade candidates for the upcoming season. He believes there’s no rush to move Landeskog, who’s signed throught 2021-22 but feels it could cost Colorado dearly if general manager Joe Sakic fails to move Duchene before the starting of the season.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 he believes a Duchene trade is going to happen, it’s just a question of when. He lists the Predators, Canadiens and Blue Jackets as possible destinations. He doesn’t know if Sakic has softened his stance regarding his asking price. Dreger said he’s seeking a young left-shot defenseman and notes the Avs blueline needs help.

Nichols also cites Elliotte Friedman telling Sportsnet 590 he thinks there’s been some renewed effort by the Avs to trade Duchene and believes the Columbus Blue Jackets could be in there, noting their attempt to land the center in early July. He said there’s been rumors the Hurricanes talked to the Avs about Justin Faulk. They’re concerned about Duchene’s contract and doesn’t think the Avs were interested in Faulk, preferring younger players like Jaccob Slavin or Noah Hanifin, who the Canes don’t want to part with.

BSN DENVER: Adrian Dater reports Duchene’s agent Pat Brisson doesn’t have anything to say about his client’s status right now. It’s possible the Avs could have an ugly holdout situation on their hands, though Dater cautions we haven’t heard anything yet from Duchene.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trade talk between the Avs and other clubs interested in Duchene could be heating up. Then again, after a quiet summer in the NHL trade market since June, this could be wishful thinking.

We know Sakic is willing to continue listening to offers and he’s refusing to budge on what he wants in return. We know several teams are interested but are balking at Sakic’s asking price and are concerned over Duchene’s $6 million annual salary, his eligibility for UFA status in 2019 and the decline in his play last season.

Duchene’s absence from that voluntary skate earlier this week has stoked anticipation he could refuse to report to training camp until the Avs trade him but that’s not yet a certainty. If he does, however, that will provide more fodder for the rumor mill and could perhaps push Sakic to make a trade before the start of the season. 

Seravalli also included Vegas Golden Knights winger James Neal, Detroit Red Wings defenseman Mike Green, Golden Knights blueliner Jason Garrison, Vancouver Canucks winger Thomas Vanek, Golden Knights winger David Perron, Philadelphia Flyers center Valtteri Filppula, Avs left wing Landeskog, Los Angeles Kings winger Marian Gaborik and Florida Panthers rearguard Jason Demers on his list of 2017-18 potential trade bait.

Larkin includes every pending UFA on the Golden Knights, Canucks defenseman Erik Gudbranson, Green, New Jersey Devils winger Drew Stafford, Kings forward Michael Cammalleri, Predators prospect Dante Fabbro, Buffalo Sabres left wing Evander Kane, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen and Hurricanes blueliner Faulk on his list.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Most of the players on these two lists (Neal, Green, Garrison, Vanek, Perron, Gudbranson, Filppula, Stafford, Cammalleri and Kane) are eligible for UFA status next summer. Most could indeed be on the move by the 2018 trade deadline.

Gaborik is signed through 2020-21 at over $4.8 million annually. I doubt there’ll be any interest in the oft-injured 35-year-old winger. The Panthers reportedly tried to trade Demers to the Canucks but the defenseman spiked the deal. He’s also signed through 2020-21 with a $4.5 million annual cap hit and a modified no-trade clause.

Vatanen and Faulk could be shopped but those moves might not take place until next summer, if at all. 

TORONTO STAR: Kevin McGran reports Maple Leafs left wing James van Riemsyk is said to be seeking around $6 million annually on a contract extension before his UFA eligibility next summer. If the Leafs truly want to acquire a defenseman, McGran considers the winger their best trade chip. While van Riemsdyk could be mentioned in trade rumors this season, he’s focused on being a productive player for the Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The better van Riemsdyk plays this season the more his trade value will rise. However, so will his value to the Leafs, especially if they’re jockeying for a playoff spot this season.

There’s also the concern that re-signing van Riemsdyk to a big raise could complicate efforts to re-sign rising stars Auston Matthews, Mitch Marner and William Nylander to the big raises they’re bound to command. The Leafs won’t move van Riemsdyk now but could consider that possibility later in the season, depending on where they are in the standings by February. 



  1. I keep getting an ad for electric generators direct. Which is useful at the moment, but it doesn’t open when you click it.

  2. Two thoughts based on today’s rumours:

    1) if there’s such a thing as poetic justice, wherever Duchene goes it won’t be any of Nashville, Columbus, Montreal Boston, Pittsburgh, Carolina or Calgary – simply to deflate the balloons of certain pundits;

    2) if Van Riemsdyk is intent on a long-term $6 mil deal the Leafs could find a trade partner hard to come by – especially if they think some team will cough up a top D. If they keep him at that price, that is going to make it dicey when the kids all start getting in line for their rewards. Welcome to the wonderful world of Cap manipulation Lou.

    • I agree. That Marleau contract is going to be a tough one to work around. IMO it is 1 season to long and about 2 million to much. The 2019 offseason is going to be tough offseason for the Leafs. Marner and Matthews new deals will kick in along with Jake Gardiner will be an UFA for the first time.

      • Not long ago; 7 to 9 months ago, numerous here, including Lyle were saying Marleau was done, unlikely to get a new deal & potentially facing retirement as few would want him. 3 years at 6.25 per turning 38 in 8 days seems like a pretty good deal.

      • For him for sure. Not so sure it’s a good deal for the Leafs. We can only wait and see what the full ramifications will be re the cap.

      • That was Lou going back to the old days with the marleau signing, not a good move move for the leafs but marleau still hasn’t stopped smiling.

      • The mention of Marleau’s contract has ruined the rest of my day.

  3. Pleeeease no more Duchene “stirring-the-pot” news. I’m getting really fed up with it. The guy is not worth more than a 1st rounder and maybe an obscure prospect. It becomes ridiculous at the end.

    • Im not so sure hes even worth a first rounder! A 60 point scorer, sakic should be fired as hes possibly the worst GM in the league! Great player but just not a GM

  4. Toronto isn’t nearly as good without JVR in the lineup. I don’t think they get a top d for him being an ufa at season end. There hard to come by in the first place. If it’s $6m JVR wants Toronto should sign him, he’ll get that on the open market. I think if you’re going trade JVR it has to be now because I would think Toronto will be fighting for a playoff spot all year, then how do you trade JVR at the trade deadline if your fighting for a playoff spot. Once the season starts leafs should sign JVR 6yrs @ $6m per, that if JVR will sign it.

    • Agree completely. I see the Leafs in a fight all year for a playoff spot and JVR will be an important part of the team’s success. Sign him soon if he’s interested.
      As an aside, it’s “show me” time in Winnipeg – the coach and GM need to make the playoffs to keep their jobs.

      • Meh, they’re not on that type of thin ice yet, once they get a legit #1 goaltender…then they can be held accountable for that type of goal.

    • the leafs need to man up and let the situation play out this year. they cant afford him on a mid to long term deal at 6 but trading him for less than a great return would be foolish to their playoff hopes. Look at him as a free rental and go for the cup. Revisit in the offseason.

  5. Bennett signs a $1.9 bridge. This is reasonable. A step back last year points wise but lots of upside. I like it !
    AA wants more, come on . Bennett was a 4th over all selection.

    • Bennett took “a step” back from 18 to 13 goals and it got him $1.9 mil. Duclair took a leap back from 20 to 5 goals (and a trip to the minors for 18 games) and that got him $1.4 mil!

  6. I thought Duchene missed that practice because he was attending a wedding in Vail Colorado? They sure are making a big deal out of it now considering he probably never planned on attending the practice and the whole team knew ahead of time. Who’s eyebrows were raised? Only people not in the know like any media in attendance.

  7. I still don’t get why the Canes are so willing to trade Faulk. He is still their best d-man, most experienced, and has a very good cap hit

    • I don’t buy any of the Faulk rumors being banded about. I think journalists, broadcasters & bloggers are just looking at what is now certainly 1 of the top 5 if not top 3 D’s in the NHL & assuming 1 will be moved for help else where.

      It’s a fabulous luxury to have & eventually Carolina may move a Dman but with 17+ million in cap space & no onerous contracts on the horizon why move 1 today or even in the next 2 years. When Faulk has 1 year remaining if he can’t be extended or cap space is becoming an issue you address then.

      Carolina has a great young team & a ton of solid prospects, 3 should have breakthrough seasons this year at forward, Rask, Lindholm & Teravainen & Aho is a stud in the making.

      I don’t think Carolina needs to do anything but let this roster develop.

      Skinner, Rask, Williams.
      Teravainen, Lindholm, Aho.
      Nordstrom, Staal, Stempniak.
      McGinn, Kruger, Ryan.
      Spare. Jooris.

      Move the wingers around anyway you prefer. This is a solid young team & at present I have them making the playoff, just & that could change before Oct 4th in injuries trades or rookies surprise for anyone.

      • I agree with you. Carolina to me should make the playoffs.
        but its hard to come up with who misses out?
        Keep in mind that on paper Tampa makes it too.

        The only teams I see dropping out are the Leafs and Habs, maybe the rangers.

      • I agree with you Striker, the Faulk rumors have never passed the litmus test for me. Now we hear a claim that Sakic did not want him because at 25 he was too old.

        Carolina’s defense is good, and has the potential to be great, but it is still in the development stage. Justin Faulk is 25 years old and has played 401 NHL games, Slavin is 23 years old and has played 145 games, Pesce is 22 and has played 151 games and Noah Hanifin is 20 years old and has played 160 games. Hanifin started playing top 4 minutes after the Hainsey trade and did well, but has not played a lot of top 4 minutes. So why would Francis trade his only top 4 defenseman that has played more than two full seasons. Not too mention Faulk is their leading scorer on the back end, an NHL all star, and has a cap friendly contract. Francis will not trade one of his top 4D until at least one of the defensive prospects has proven himself to be a top 4D.

      • Carolina plans to use Lindholm primarily on the wing which they feel allows him to be more aggressive on the forecheck and gets the rest of his game going. They will occasionally use him at center based on certain match ups. Staal is called the number two center but plays the most minutes. Kruger and Ryan will battle all year for 3/4 center.

        MY opinion is the Canes make the playoffs if the following happens:

        1. Lindholm and Rask both have the best season of their careers and both have 50+ point seasons.

        2. Darling has a .920 or better save percentage

        3. Bill Peters figures out 3 on 3.

        4. Faulk is more consistent with his intensity level and physical play.

  8. Could the NHL hire someone to run the Department of Player Safety who did NOT make their living hitting other players in the head?

    For once.

  9. Bennett kind of experienced the dreaded sophomore slump although his may have been more from moving primarily playing as a LW in a scoring role in 2015-16 to a full time 3rd line C last season.

    Bennett took 347 faceoffs in 2015-16, then 811 last season. In 15-16 he saw 2nd line PP time but his PP time declined by 3/4’s of a min per game last season from 1:57 in 15-16 to 1:14 & as a 3rd line C his wingers weren’t great.

    He is being developed conventionally & I assume in the very near future possibly as early as next season he could move into the #2 C role. Ideally Calgary would extend Backlund a UFA next summer to buy Bennett more time but will they be able to afford to do so?

    Bennett’s breakthrough what ever that may be should come in 2018-19. As a 4th overall pick with a solid pedigree he has huge growth ahead of him & at only 21 lots of time to be the player he was drafted to be.

    Getting him bridged at under 2 mil for 2 years is solid value.

  10. I seriously doubt any trades are going to happen until after training camp starts, especially in the case of Duchene. If Sakic is asking what we see in the media, no one meets that until after they see their teams hit the ice. Montreal, at the moment, should not be included in any Duchene talk because Mtl does not have the assets to interest the Avs unless they completely and absolutely destroy the organization. Duhene is not worth that…

  11. Why is it that Sakic is the only one in the hockey universe who believes Duchene is worth his asking price? At some point you gotta take the head out of the sand and come back to reality.

  12. I hope Buffalo makes another trade with Sakic, he’s not a good GM.