NHL Rumor Mill – October 11, 2017

by | Oct 11, 2017 | Rumors | 49 comments

Updates on Matt Duchene, Andreas Athanasiou and James van Riemsdyk in your NHL rumor mill. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Darren Dreger telling Vancouver’s TSN 1040 his Montreal sources claim the Canadiens aren’t among the suitors for Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. He did suggest we take that info with a grain of salt, pointing out Habs general manager Marc Bergevin last year denied he would trade defenseman P.K. Subban, only to turn around and ship him to Nashville for Shea Weber.

But if the Canadiens current goal-scoring drought continues, Dreger said he doesn’t know how they couldn’t express some interest in Duchene. He also wonders if the Habs might target Vegas Golden Knights winger James Neal, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. 

THE ATHLETIC: In his latest mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked if he thought the San Jose Sharks might pursue Duchene if their young forwards fail to step up as hoped. He doesn’t see it happening as such a move would mean sacrificing a major piece or two from their roster.  

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports former Avalanche star Peter Forsberg has reached out to Duchene following his remarks over the weekend suggesting the club should sit Duchene until he’s traded. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think the Habs would be interested in Duchene if not for the Avs’ high asking price, which includes a young, established top-four defenseman as part of the return. That’s a commodity the Canadiens don’t have to spare right now. As for Neal, a lot depends on his performance and that of the Knights over the course of this season. He also still carries an eight-team no-trade list. 

TSN: With the Detroit Red Wings locked in a contract standoff with restricted free agent forward Andreas Athanasiou, Bob McKenzie reports several NHL teams have reached out to the Wings to see if they’re interested in trading the winger. The Wings aren’t shopping him. However, if they were to move him it would take a player of comparable age, offensive upside and skills level to tempt them. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless a rival club makes an offer too good to refuse, Athanasiou isn’t going anywhere. 

LeBrun also reports there haven’t been any serious contract discussions yet between the Toronto Maple Leafs and winger James van Riemsdyk, who’s eligible next summer for unrestricted free agency. There’s talk “JvR would be willing to do an eight-year deal if it meant it was more cap friendly for the Leafs. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs have just under $49 million invested in 15 players for 2018-19. While they have plenty of room to re-sign van Riemsdyk, they must ensure sufficient cap room to re-sign Auston Matthews, William Nylander and Mitch Marner to the expensive new contracts they’re certain to get over the next two years.

JvR also turns 29 next May and an eight-year deal seems far too long at this stage in his career. Yes, he’ll likely remain productive in the first four years of that contract but his output will likely decline over the final four seasons, tying up valuable cap space necessary to retain younger talent. Unless he gets hurt or the Leafs can somehow pawn off half his salary to another club, I don’t see him getting an eight-year deal from Toronto. 



  1. The JVR “8-ear deal” rumour is much like the Turris talk in Ottawa – both would be 37 in the final year of any such deal. Unless both agree to a scaled-down deal whereby the last 2-3 years cost significantly less against the cap, I don’t see wither team locking themselves into potential albatross contracts.

    • I agree George, I wonder is a 6yr deal at 6.5 would work for either player or either team. The dollar may seem low but kicking in at age 29, I’m almost to the point now I don’t want to tie any forward after the age of 33. League is getting younger and faster.

      • I agree Caper, that’s also I factor in why I would try to bridge all players. 3 year ELC, 2 or 3 year bridge deal, followed by 5 to 8 year deal depending upon the players skill set.

        Even if a stud & the step into a full time NHL role as essentially a 19 year old that’s 13 to 14 years tied up contractually taking them to 33 or 34.

        I don’t want to be forced to sign 27, to 32 years olds to 6 to 8 year deals as UFA’s ever.

        These 5 to 8 year deals we are seeing signed by UFA’s in most cases are going to become toxic contracts.

        Hopefully in the next CBA some solution to this contract situation as it relates to players 2nd contracts is resolved & the maximum term of 7 years for UFA’s & 8 years for your own players is reduced some how.

      • There is no way that the Leafs would offer JVR a $6.5 mill/yr for any amount of time, not 2 years, not 3 years not even one year I think that the Leafs see the lack of JVR’s defensive game does not garner him such a lucrative amount of money. I believe that for the Leafs the best case scenario would be to trade him in a package deal for a top 4RH D man either a hard nosed young stay at home good 1st pass guy or the same scenario prospect. This would be their 1st option or 2nd option would be for picks, but I don’t see resigning as a real option, the Leafs have far to many younger, cheaper options knocking on the door right now and JVR is going to be on the wrong side of 30 one year after he signs his contract, he doesn’t fit into their future plans unfortunately. JVR has been a good soldier but the clock has run out on his Leaf career.

    • Dollar value can decline in the latter years of a contract, but the cap hit is the average value of the deal throughout the contract. They CBA also limits the allowable dollar fluctuation from year to year to get rid of the back-diving contracts signed in the early days of the cap. Only options are to reduce term, or drop the average value.

    • Seeing how’s the 🍃 seem to like spending big on old men maybe it will be a back loaded contract.

  2. “8-year” – “either team” – sheesh. Lyle, you GOTTA do something about that faded text.

    • I’m far-sighted beyond help, but a word-processing application may benefit you. You can type your comment with the application, then cut-and-paste it into the comments box. If that works for you, please give me a tap of your mic-mac stick.

    • What’s faded text George? You complain about it but I haven’t the foggiest idea what your talking about

    • What is faded text?

      • Well, in my connection, when I click on the icon to type a post, the script – as I type – is way lighter as that which appears after it’s posted. And with these eyes, it’s a challenge. I know I should follow Frank’s advice and type it in Notepad or WordPerfect first, then cut and paste after I’m sure all the typos are fixed – gotta get in that habit. Like I did now.

  3. Jvr is as good as gone. The leafs will need every penny of cap the big three will probably take around 25 million to sign. Do the math and they must move on and let more of the kids play luckily they have lots of kids ready to go.

    • The math is certainly a factor in who they choose to keep in order to sign the young stars, which is also the case with a lot of other teams (hello Edmonton). But the question is, are those “lots of kids” anywhere near as good as the likes of JVR?

      It was one thing to pick high and get Matthews, Nylander, Marner, Kadri and Rielly (all Top 10) and expect better than decent results, but now that they’re looking at consistent picks in the 20-31 range it becomes more of a crap-shoot.

      • The Leafs do have a lot NHL ready wingers ready to step in, sure not as good as JvR but that is the sacrifices you need to make in the cap world.
        Brown is playing 4C
        Leivo and Soshnikov are ready to step up as well.

      • Taz not that it matters but what does 4C mean? Do you mean 4R?

      • yeah my bad, meant to write 4th Line – not 4C

      • All good not an issue just confused. At my age, like Georges eye sight a common occurrence. Ha-ha!

        George no ill will intended were just 2 really old guys, fighting father time.

      • Fighting Father Time?? I’m trying to kick him in the gonads!

      • 👊🏿 it George! Kick his ass!

    • What is JVR’s salary?

      • Go the Capfriendly or NHLnumbers.com & look.

      • It’s a cap-friendly $4,250,000 which, for a winger who has given them 3 full-season goal totals of 30, 27 and 29, is a real bargain. Much like Turris who has a cap hit of $3,500,000. I can understand why both will be seeking heftier pay-cheques – and both are worth it – but not if the full cap hit is extended to 8 years in each case.

        Unless, as Mike points out, they can drop the average value.

  4. I think that the Leafs Management would love to keep JVR but I think everyone will agree that the cap will be an issue.
    I think that if the Leafs are in the playoffs by a good berth by the TDL that they will keep both him and Bozak for a run and then let them walk, unless JVR returns that top 4 RHD that they really need.

    • I see them resigning Bozak to a similar cap hit as today

  5. Your right George it becomes much harder drafting in the later position but with the Marleau deal jvr will be gone. I don’t want to see long term deals for guys in late twenties.those kind of deals kill you. They become declining assets not worth it. It’s a young mans game now and best for cap management.

    • I totally agree Man on TV. But there is an ominous side if a lot of the younger guys coming in are simply top AHLers to cheaply replace older players whose skills are much better but who are literally pricing themselves out of the game in a cap world where the very best are costing upwards of $10 mil per (and up) while the cap max only inches upwards by comparison. Especially if the Cdn $ remains at around 75 cents U.S. (or even lower as some economists are predicting).

      The numbers are vastly different, but it kind of reminds me of when the WHA came into being in 1972, partly because the NHL began balking at paying some of their stars what they thought they were worth to the success of the franchise. For example, Bobby Hull of Chicago signed with Winnipeg Jets at a mind-boggling $1 mil per, and others soon followed. And that era – before the collapse of the USSR – did not include the wealth of European-born players we see now.

      Maybe some begin looking at a rival league again if more and more older NHLers begin to see their spots taken by teams who have no choice but to bring in younger players from their system for no other reason than staying within the cap. And what would the NHLPA think of that trend?

  6. All you have to do is look at todays players to realize that unless your an elite talent at forward your career is likely over between the ages of 33-35. The NHL has turned into a very fast game, and very young game. JVR saying cap friendly is a nice gesture, but realistically on a team full of stars it isn’t going to happen. Nor is he going to net Toronto a top pairing RHD. He isn’t Taylor Hall, and Edm paid a hefty price to bring in Larrson.

    • They actually are very similiar players at least in points. Over the last 5 seasons.

      JvR. 332GP-118G-122A-240PTS.
      Hall. 327G-103G-183A-286PTS.

    • I think JVR is every bit as consistent a producer as Hall. LOVE to have him on the Sens – but a repeat block-buster deal between the Ontario rivals in one generation is probably too much to expect.

  7. Yea I think you might be right they might just keep him for a playoff run depending where they are sitting at the trad deadline. Bozak and uncle Leo are in the same boat UFA next year could let all 3 walk I believe they will need the cap space.

  8. I really think Montreal needs Duchense the most…… They look offensively challenged….

    • Was it you or BigBadBruins who felt MTL had sufficient scoring & D & all was well. Can’t remember.

      Mtl coukd certainly use Duchene, several teams could but Mtl simply doesn’t have the assets currently to acquire him.

      As Lyle pointed out they don’t have the 1st primary ingredient, an established young top 4 Dman. Their prospect kitty 1 of the worst in the NHL & their draft pick will be middling.

      It’s early but Price is experiencing what it’s like to play behind a bad defense & Schlemko isn’t going to help much.

      For what it’s worth, nothing, I took MTL & Ottawa to miss the playoffs by a smidge, 2 to 4 points with TB & NYI replacing them this season.

      I have no idea what Bergevin is thinking or doing.

    • Mtl is two pieces (at least) from being for real this year. We need a center and a puck-moving left D. At the start of the pre-season there was reason for hope BUT that hope was based on a bunch of question marks. Those questions might still have answers, they may take too long for the Habs to make the playoffs. Mainly, can Drouin find the next level as a center and can Jerabec learn the NA game and really step up? Sadly, I think Striker’s predictions are solid.
      The only worth while trade chips in the Habs cuboard is in goal-tending prospects.

      • It’s not that Mtl doesn’t have solid pieces they just can’t afford to give them up. I really like Lehtonen’s potential, Mete has surprised me, Gelchenyuk needs a fresh start & numerous would be willing to give him 1 but would have to be moved under value, what’s weird is MTL is devaluing him they just beat on this kid endlessly. Why is Danault being buried he should be centering a line with Gelchenyuk at LW & Drouin at RW & certainly be seeing PP time ahead of Shaw! That would leave Mtl’s old #1 line of Plekenec with Pacioretty & Gallagher.

        Juulsen is a great prospect but after those mentioned above what’s left to trade? What’s Hudon’s value in trade or Jerebek?

        It’s a weird roster, sort of trapped with what they have unless they can find a way to leverage all that cap space which should have happened in the summer.

        I’ll be shocked if Bergevin makes it till Xmas.

  9. I’d send donskoi and lebank for duschense. The sharks need a solid second like center for after jumbo gets recycled into the ice. And maybe he can help them score.

    • The 1st asset being reported to acquire Duchene is a young established top 4 Dman. Neither of those players are Dman.

      • Rangers have pieces. Sent Chytil to ahl, not back to Czech.. that plus the fact they are juggling 8 dmen in and out of lineup, makes me believe a trade is in discussion.

  10. James Neal sure looked good for Las Vegas last night.I see him as one of the top targets at the trade deadline. The Knights looked fast, well organized and tough. Arizona did not. Gerard Gallant and Rick Tocchet’s coaching stints with their new teams are trending in opposite directions so far.

    • Arizona is a very young team, Vegas not so young & probably better this year than next. I assume 1/2 this team almost every UFA; 9 players currently, will be traded between now & the trade deadline & even a player like Marchesseault will most likely be lost.

      Both of these teams are going to be pretty bad. I assume when all is said & done Vegas will be the worst team in the league & Arizona will be battling it out with Colorado & Vancouver for next worst in the west.

      Vegas has got to play Arizona in 2 of their 3 games so far not a very good test. The NHL has given Vegas a very favorable schedule out of the gate, they play 6 more at home before they go out on a brutal road trip. An east coast road trip 6 games in 8 days with 2 back to backs.

      It’s going to be curious to see where they are when they return from that trip.

      • Don’t sleep on Vegas Striker. I’ve watched them a few times and can tell you they play a pretty solid game. They aren’t playing above their themselves with early enthusiasm. They are not easy to play against. They play a solid defensive game and can score. They are well coached and level-headed, and not just playing inspired and on a high to start the season. This team will not be easy to play against this season. They kinda remind me of the ’06 oilers. Just winning games on a hard work ethic and a sound game. Not gonna be a cup finalist by any means though. I’m not making any predictions, just making an observation.

      • Oh Striker,

        Can we all just enjoy early Vegas success? We all know it won’t last, but it’s fun for now isn’t it?

      • It’s not meant to disparage Vegas, just tempering the excitement. I’m all for expansion, bring on Quebec City & move Carolina to Seattle in 6 years, I’m really happy Vegas got a team, & can’t wait to go see a game there in Nov. I like Gallant, Florida made a huge mistake firing him.

        I get what McPhee choose to do, Chrism nailed it, it’s all about the future. I hope he can flip all these UFA’s especially all the extra Dman for something. My selections were only different from his by 8 players out of 30.

        Winning even the easy games is important, the 2 games against Arz & sneaking 1 out in Dallas was huge.

        The roster Vegas is dressing is a solid hardworking veteran squad with good character but they will be the worst team in the league for several years. Competitive? What’s that mean? If they finish 20 to 25 points below the next worst team in the league is that competitive? Not for me. If they finish with in 4 to 6 points of the next worst team in the NHL then yes that is competitive at least for me.

      • striker if I recall you had vegas like 20 points out of a playoff spot? (I could be recalling very wrong here but it sounds familiar). Personally I think the roster is built to compete with the bottom 1/3rd of the league. they are also in the weakest division in the league. I dont believe they are a playoff team.. probably would be bad for them to be in the hunt because your ufa’s should be moved for 1st, 2nd, and top 5 team prospects at the deadline. neal looks like a 1st rounder rental for sure. that would be 5 1st rounders in 2 years. other pieces could end up making it 6.

      • I would say that at least 20 points out of a playoff spot

    • LV roster next year will certainly look a lot different. Grabovski’s $5 mil comes off the books leaving them with an estimated $43 mil in cap space. The UFA’s they’ll have to consider – if not in fact dealt – are Neal ($5 mil), Perron ($3,750,000), Marchessault ($750,000). Garrison ($4,600,000), Sbisa ($3,600,000), Stoner ($3,250,000), McNabb ($1,700,000), Engelland ($1 mil). Aas for RFAs, there’s Karlsson at $1 mil, Carrier at $689,167, Nosek at $612,000, Merrill at $1,137,500, and Miller at $1 mil.

      The only UFAs looking at significant raises will probably be Neal and Marchessault, especially if the latter repeats his 30-goal performance. They’ll likely be a big player in next years overall UFA crop as well.

  11. Loving lv success. The current shipandshove problem and carrying 9 d has me downgrading McPhee from a b+ to a b but he built a competitive roster that still has their top 2 NHL ready players in the minors, 3 1st rounders marinating.., and trade chips to get them at least another 2 1st rounders next year or NHL 18-19 prospects. Nice job

  12. George.

    I got to watch Ottawa play Vancouver live last night. They played great, Cleasson looked very good, Chabot played well in sheltered minutes & Ottawa seriously outplayed Vancouver & was deserving of the win.

    More importantly it was a fun game to watch.

    • Yes it was a fun game to watch – never understood that reputation some gave them of being a “boring” team to watch – especially in the 3 playoff series last season. That Pit series was hardly boring from any angle. Chabot MIGHT stick for good this time if they don’t make a deal involving their glut of D once Karlsson, Oduya and Harpur are all ready to play.

      Could get interesting as Dorion is still making noises about bringing in some LW help. We’ll see.

      • Would you consider moving Cleasson in a package to secure Duchene? By the 25 to 30 game mark he might appeal to Colorado as a top 4 young Dman?

        Cleasson, Brown or Chlapik & depending upon which 1 of the 2 a 1st to 3rd round pick. If Brown pick declines substantially.

        Cleasson would need to show he’s capable of being that player over say a 1/3rd to 1/2 a season. If Turris & Brassard are retained long term really only room for 1 of White or Brown in that scenario. Duchene can play LW & help in the circle from the left side.

        Just green lighting & his 2 year deal is a concern when moving such young players. Curious as to your thoughts as an Ottawa fan.