NHL Rumor Mill – October 17, 2017

by | Oct 17, 2017 | Rumors | 32 comments

Latest on the Edmonton Oilers, Vegas Golden Knights, Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets in your NHL rumor mill. 

EDMONTON JOURNAL’S Jim Matheson recently tweeted he thinks the Oilers are still looking at the Vegas Golden Knights for help on defense until blueliner Andrej Sekera returns from knee surgery. He suggests Jon Merrill as a cheap defensive blueliner while Jason Garrison is a more expensive power-play guy. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights carry 10 defensemen on one-way contracts. It’s widely assumed they want to move at least one of them via trade. Merrill was a healthy scratch in four of the Knights’ first five games while Garrison skated in four. Of the two, Merrill would be the easiest to trade. Garrison’s $4.6 million cap hit and no-trade clause could make him difficult to move unless the Knights pick up part of that cap hit and he agrees to waive his clause. 

THE DETROIT NEWS: Gregg Krupa speculates there could be more than just salary issues behind restricted free agent winger Andreas Athanasiou’s contract standoff with the Detroit Red Wings. The 23-year-old has no arbitration rights and little leverage, leading Krupa to suggest Athanasiou “is serious about diverting his career, playing in Europe and waiting for management to make a move.” He also notes this is a tactic the winger’s agent, Darren Ferris, used before with another client, Columbus Blue Jackets forward Josh Anderson. Noting this strategy didn’t work with Anderson, Krupa doubts it’ll work for Athanasiou. Rather than trade the young winger, Krupa speculates the Red Wings could let him play in Europe this season and revisit the issue next summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As Krupa observes, it seems odd that Athanasiou would stage this impasse over a mere $500K difference in salary. The Wings are offering $1.9 million per season on a two-year deal but the Athanasiou camp seeks $2.5 million annually. This could be a case of a young player and his agent over-valuing his worth or maybe there’s some real issues there regarding his role with the club. Wings general manager Ken Holland is reportedly speaking with Ferris this week. Perhaps a resolution will come shortly. 

THE ATHLETIC: Murat Ates takes an in-depth look at the huge disparity between the Winnipeg Jets’ top-six forwards and its bottom six and how it’s holding the club back. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ates isn’t speculating about a trade or suggesting the Jets make one to address the issue, but I wonder if they could go shopping for help if this issue persists. The Jets face heightened expectations this season that could put pressure on management to address their problem areas. 



  1. VGK still have Theodore in the minors. On top of the 10 ?

    Last year Talbot stood on his head the entire season. A little more towards average so far this year and the record reflects. Not sure how they can be made one of the Stanley Cup favourites after one season in the play-offs.
    They can definitely use some help on the backend.

    • I cant figure out why they have Theodore in the minors.

      • Probably because he doesn’t require waivers while the 10 they retain would have to go through that process.

      • Same reason as they had Shipracov cap space…they just did call him up though… I think?

      • It relates to waivers not cap issues. Vgs hasn’t even yet designated Grabovsky or Clarkson to LTIR, that’s 10 mil in cap space & they have 4.4 with Ship on the roster. As George referenced neither was required to clear waivers to be sent down, everyone else does so they wait until injuries open roster spots as they have or trades are made.

        Vgs isn’t going any where so what difference does it really make in the short term. Both will be playing full time roles for Vgs at some point & moving forward.

        Injuries & trades will open roster spots eventually as they have now in the short term with Haula, Marschesseault, Stoner & Fleury all on IR. If trades aren’t made or McPhee doesn’t waiv player Tuch & Ship will have to be sent down again as these players return.

        I assume trades are coming, I’m surprised they haven’t happened yet.

      • Shipachayev played and scored in their last game. So did Tuch. The only one that hasn’t played that deserves to is Theodore. I still can’t believe the Ducks chose to keep Vatanan over him. The Ducks could use Theodore right now. But yes to reiterate it was because those 3 were waiver exempt and not because they dont deserve to be in the NHL because they do.

    • Have you actually watched 1 / 4 games this year silver seven ? Talbot hasn’t been close to average , hes been bad and bad early . The oilers haven’t had any flow to there game yet throughout the lineup , still figuring things out , and talbot hasn’t made a timely save this year . It’s 4 games in . Talbot will be better , and the underlying numbers will start to settle out . They have heavily outshot and outchanced there production to date with no flow , injuries and a lack of effort . Like other situations around the league , the cream will rise , the pretenders will fall . 4/82
      Which teams at this stage do you look at as the ” real contenders” and has that list changed from game 1-4 ?

      • Craig.

        In almost full agreement. Snippets can be garnered this early. The only real surprises for me are NJ & NYR so far.

        NJ is going to be a far better team than I thought they would & I had them to be better, I have watched them play twice now & they have very good team speed & youth has changed their style of play. In points they bump maybe 6 to 8 for me bumping them up a few slots in the standings but still miss the playoffs.

        Even though I had NYR as the top wild card team the difference between that & 12th may only be 4 points & these lost points early may come back to haunt them. I’m not writing them off yet not even moving them but it is a cause for concern. Vigneault is up to his old tricks. Not even remotely happy with his player personal decisions which for me is a huge part of the problem.

        I don’t want Nash & Zuccarello playing together I want them both on RW. Why is Desharnais getting PP time ahead of Hayes? Why is Holden not playing with McDonagh, that was NYR’s best paring when together last season. Why is DeAngelo getting PP time over Skjei he shouldn’t even be in the line up 1 train wreck defensively in Shattenkirk is enough. No room for 2 1 dimensional Dman on 1 team.

        The only coach deploying his personal worse so far is Green in Vcr, what a mess. He’s not even giving them a chance to win games.

      • Yeah, they really outshot Ottawa – a massive 36-31 advantage. But then, all the experts know that Ottawa is just a pretender and that the bloom will be off the rose soon. Funny thing, though, the Sens went in there last year and shut them out and damned near shut them out again after doing it to Calgary the night before. And the game I watched did not show any “massive” advantage in chances but rather a whole slew from the perimeter. But it was all Talbot’s fault of course, especially with that tight-checking support he got from his stellar D.

      • Ottawa has played great George, I have seen them live twice, Van & Edm, I really enjoyed both games. The Edm game was far more balanced than the score showed. Edm gave up 3 power play goals in the game.

        Karlsson is returning, rumors are Ottawa is being the most active in the trade market trying to find a replacement for MacArthur. Perhaps it just comes from with in. White is only 2 to 3 weeks away from recovering but will need a little seasoning in the AHL to get his back up to game speed. The C position looks full curretly with Turris, Brassard, Pageau & Thompson. Can White slid in as a LW to start his NHL career? For that matter, till injures hit, who comes out for him to even play?

        I had Ottawa just missing the playoffs but by very few points perhaps 2 to 4. As we discussed I hope I’m wrong as I like Ottawa & not just because they are a Canadian team but as I have numerous Ottawa players in my fantasy leagues partly.

        NYR’s slow start could be to Ottawa’s benefit & I will be happy to state I’m wrong. The standings are going to be so tight in both conferences for 6 to 8 teams it’s virtually a coin toss as to who will or won’t make it to the playoffs in the bottom 2 slots or even in the Atlantic at 2 & 3. Perhaps even in the Pacific as well at #3

      • George ,
        If you read the comment before seeing red and responding you would see I said “outshot and outscored their production” . Didn’t say anything about the other teams chances . I believe they will convert more and give up less and the numbers suggest both are likely . If they continue these early trends over 82 and Talbot returns to career norms , things will be just fine in Edmonton , and well ahead of your sens George .

      • “Outshot and outchanced” *

        But still no mention of the other teams played , including that 36-31 you pointed out .

    • I agree SilverSeven. They squeaked into the playoffs at the end of the season last year, but the inspiration of being there boosted them a lot in the playoffs I think. Easy for a young team to be inspired and play great in the playoffs, but much harder to begin and sustain that same enthusiasm all season. It also seems difficult to find that same elation after a summer vacation. Plus, teams are going to play you much harder and smarter now.

      If it weren’t for SJ and LA being to old and slow, and possibly missing the playoffs this year, I might think Edmonton would have to claw their way into a playoff spot again.

    • Have you watched the Oilers play. Talk about loose and unstructured. McDavid is damn good. Yet he is trying to carry the team alone. They need to tighten up things and learn to play the game properly as a team. If so I think you will find Talbot game back to what it was last year

    • They need scoring on the wing too. I’d love to see Edmonton swing a deal with Vegas for a decent defenseman & James Neal. Next years first rounder, & D prospect (like Ethan Bear or Caleb Jones) and next years UFA Patrick Maroon should get it done.I really like Maroon but he’ll be looking for a raise and another big guy can probably get the job done cheaper than what $$$ Maroon will be looking for.

  2. No reason to sound the alarm bells in Winnipeg, plenty of talent to fill out the bottom six and If any concern it would be the 3rd line Kyle Connor (called up yesterday) and Jack Roslovic in the Ahl, that could be the beginning of a very good 3rd line. 5 games in is a little early to be worrying.

    • I like the Jets but very wary of their goaltending. Mase is not the answer.

      • Couldn’t agree more Ron Jull. When you have to sign agent goalie from Philadelphia, of all places, that is saying a lot!

      • Mason is getting a pass here in Winnipeg for the first two games largely due to how the defense played in front of him as a team.
        I also think Hellebuyck is a better goalie and has #1 potential; was part of the plan last year to give him more games, as he said himself it took a lot from the mental side of the game.
        Mason has a big game tonight and if he sputters he’ll find himself on the bench for the next 3 to 4 games.

      • the Jets needed a veteran back up to shelter Hellebuyck’s starts, glad they got 1 this year but not happy with the selection of Mason, especially at 4.1 for 2 years. Hellebuyck is a great young goalie his #’s last season reflect the Jets overall play & a young goalie being forced to bare to big a burden mentally far to young to have been thrust into that role last season.

        Helleybuyck has a very bright future & his development should tie in perfect with the rest of this young core developing.

    • I have a growing suspicion that once they dump Maurice, the Jets will be an instantly improved team going forward. I also have been wanting to understand what the whole ‘Peggian aura and atmosphere is like in that area. Is it a bit smothering and toxic like Toronto? Are the Jets fans a disgruntled or rabid society? Is overall life really that dismal in Winnipeg? These are the kind of things I want to know to have a better insight into that team, and a more accurate perception into the whole culture of Winnipeg hockey and daily life.

  3. AA needs a new agent! It is clear at this point that the agent is working for himself. Sign at 1.9, his agent’s percentage would certainly be more than it is now!

    • Sorry, “if you have to sign a free agent goalie from Philadelphia”, is what I meant to say.

    • I think the AA situation is more to do with ice time and the coaching staff then the money. he played little minutes during the season and score almost a many goals as some players who got more minutes. He sat while Sheehan scored only two goals all year and was the worst plus minus on the team. He definitely wants out and money is just what he and the agent are using as window dressing. It would be best to trade him and get something in return to help build the club then let him waste his talent in Eurpoe.

      • Good point Mike. AA has a reputation of becoming disgruntled. He couldn’t get along with Dale Hunter neither in London when he was with the Knights. I believe he was eventually traded to the Colts of the OHL

    • Maybe Athanasiou owes Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown some money.

  4. Garrison hasn’t seen power play time since 2014-15 & even then it was in a limited role. Matheson is out to lunch.

    Will Vgs eat salary to facilitate trading Garrison, if the team acquiring him sweetens the pot to justify them doing so other wise they sit on him till the trade deadline when a player like this usually returns the highest possible value in trade.

    • always injuries that can occur

  5. Oilers have issues on defence clearly and probably came into the season a bit arrogant after a strong playoff performance last year.Nurse will turn into a solid 3/4 d this year.With Draisaitl out with a concusion it doesn’t look promising early but after 4 games no team is winning or losing the cup but a better start helps when getting in or out of the playoffs can be by a point or 2.

  6. No one is going to argue that McDavid or Draisaitl aren’t world class players – clearly they are. But last spring’s playoff against Anaheim showed that McDavid can be neutralized to some effective degree (by Kessler in that case) and when those two are covered like a blanket the Oilers scoring prowess drops off dramatically. Eberle was 3rd in pts – a distant 3rd behind Draisaitl) Nor is their D, after Klefbom, anything to instill fear into the opposition.

    In free-wheeling seasonal games, especially catching some teams on back-to-backs, McDavid and Draisaitl will light things up and get everyone excited, with the Maroons of the world picking up points simply by being on the ice at the same time as that talented duo. But a tight-checking talented team has shown that they can be frustrated to the point where they try to do it all on their own.

    Yet we consistently hear from the experts that this is a team to be reckoned with now, while the Sens, who damned near went to the finals in the spring, are shrugged off as lucky to be a bubble team, and no threat to go deep. What some need to do is realize that this is a “TEAM” sport and that an effective team that adheres totally to a system doesn’t need a F in the Top 10 in scoring to be a threat.

  7. A mere 500k? I wish I made half that in a year… when you look at it as a regular Joe… that’s a 20 percent difference

    • 99% of us in here probably don’t even make one-fifth of that in a year!