NHL Rumor Mill – October 21, 2017

by | Oct 21, 2017 | Rumors | 34 comments

Updates on the Red Wings, Capitals and Canadiens in your NHL rumor mill.

 MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan reports Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland must clear over $1.3 million in salary-cap space to make room for Andreas Athanasiou’s new one-year, $1.387 million deal before it becomes official. Options include trading center Riley Sheahan ($2.075-million cap hit), who was linked to the Pittsburgh Penguins during offseason trade chatter. They could also demote forward David Booth ($700k) in conjunction with another player. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I expect the Wings will make their move – be it trade, demotions or maybe a combination of both – at some point in the coming week. They want to get Athanasiou back in the lineup as soon as possible. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin believes it’s time for the Washington Capitals to mortgage some of their future for immediate help on the blueline. The Caps are in “win-now” mode but are trying to make do with journeymen (such as Taylor Chorney) and untested youngsters (Madison Bowey, Christian Djoos) to replace departed veterans Karl Alzner, Kevin Shattenkirk and Nate Schmdit. They’re also missing Matt Niskanen, who’s currently on injured reserve with an upper-body injury.

Larkin thinks they should peddle highly touted goalie prospect Ilya Samsonov, who has no chance of supplanting Braden Holty as the Caps starter, along with some “B-plus pieces”. He suggests they target Vancouver’s Chris Tanev, anyone of the Vegas Golden Knights or Arizona’s Niklas Hjalmarsson. 

NBC SPORTS WASHINGTON: J.J. Regan disagrees with Larkin. He doesn’t believe history will be kind to the Capitals if Samsonov goes on to become a top goaltender elsewhere in the league, especially if they only get back a short-term return. He also points out moving Samsonov won’t help the cap-strapped Capitals bring in assets that helps them right now. While Regan acknowledges the Caps need to improve their defense, trading away a potential franchise goalie seems shortsighted. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Larkin and Regan both raise good points. Right now, Capitals GM Brian MacLellan isn’t under pressure to make a major move. Finding a suitable trade partner this early in the season isn’t easy. as he and his peers are still evaluating their rosters. As long as the Caps remain on the happy side of .500 and hold a playoff berth, MacLellan will make do with what he has until Niskanen’s return in early-November.

Over the course of the season, however, the Capitals GM could be forced to go shopping for more experienced depth. As Regan points out, however, doing so also means shedding salary as the Caps are pressed against the $75 million cap ceiling. Trading young assets won’t help them in that regard. It’ll be interesting to see how MacLellan handles this. 

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie appearing Friday morning on Montreal’s TSN 690 examining some Canadiens-related trade chatter. Acknowledging colleague Darren Dreger’s report on Thusday speculating the Pittsburgh Penguins might have interest in Canadiens forward Alex Galchenyuk, McKenzie notes the Pens had some interest in the young Habs forward in the past and maybe, in the right circumstances, could look at him in the future.

For now, however, McKenzie doesn’t think it’s a front-burner issue. He notes it would be a mistake to assume Galchenyuk is the only forward the Penguins have an eye on. Since the summer, the Penguins have been in the market for a third-line center. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Two problems with the Galcheyuk-to-Pittsburgh speculation. One, the Penguins carry just over $2 million in cap space and must either convince the Habs to pick up part of his $4.9 million annual cap hit (which they won’t do without getting something worthwhile in return) or ship out a salaried player or two as part of the return. Second, Galcheyuk hasn’t proven himself as an NHL-caliber center, especially in a third-line position where he’ll be required to play a more defensive role, something he hasn’t excelled at with the Canadiens. 

McKenzie also took note of recent reports observing Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin scouting some New York Islanders games. He doesn’t think there’s anything new there and scoffed at the notion Bergevin was pursuing John Tavares. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Islanders aren’t trading Tavares right now, if at all. And even if they were, the Habs don’t have the assets to land him. The Isles aren’t going to just give Tavares away. They’ll seek a king’s ransom. If the Habs harbor any hope of acquiring Tavares, they’ll have to wait until next July when he becomes an unrestricted free agent, provided he hasn’t re-signed with the Isles by then. 

Nichols also cites Dreger’s Friday appearance on Buffalo’s WGR 550 where the subject of the Canadiens came up. He said he’d had a couple of teams ask him if he felt the struggling Habs could reach the stage where they might consider trading captain Max Pacioretty. While Dreger admits they could at some point reach that stage with any player outside of Carey Price, he doesn’t feel the Habs have reached it with Pacioretty.

Dreger speculates the Habs winger could be a good fit with teams in “win-now” mode such as Anaheim or Los Angeles. He also thinks the New York Rangers “would probably move heaven and earth” to get Pacioretty if he ever become available. Pacioretty is signed through 2019 and lacks no-trade protection. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Canadiens decide to go into teardown mode Pacioretty could be shopped. But I don’t see that happening this season. Next summer? Perhaps, depending on how this season shakes out and if there’s any changes in the Habs front office by then. 

Nichols cites Elliotte Friedman appearing on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 expressing doubt the Canadiens have sufficient assets to acquire Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. 

SPECTORS’ NOTE: I’ve been saying this for months. Based on the Avs’ reported asking price (young, established top-four defenseman with a left-handed shot, a top prospect and a high draft pick), the Habs lack the assets to outbid other interested clubs. Unless Avs GM Joe Sakic lowers his price, forget about Duchene getting dealt to Montreal. 



  1. If the Caps did decide to peddle Samsonov, I would think the last one to meet their needs would be Las Vegas who are up to their armpits in goalies.

    • Most are just bodies George. Not sure how many of their current group of goalies have NHL futures. Might Subban & Dansk? I don’t know. Really all they have at present for me is MAF, the 3 kids drafted this year might have bright futures but that’s a long way off but then again so is Samsanov.

      I think if Vgs could get Samsanov for any of their Dman in some form of trade they would be happy to. Hell I think George would just like to move any of them, he’s already moved 2 under value & the remainder he wants to move he isn’t garnering any better return most likley less unless he moves 1 he doesn’t wish to move.

      • Striker, your given up way to early on Subban, kid just needs some confidence in himself and then he’ll start to flourish. I suspect taking a puck to the throat might take some time to put in the back of your mind.

      • Caper. Your not getting the gist of my post.

        I’m not writing Subban off Caper but hard to say what he will be now & with so many goalies coming his future is uncertain. As I posted the other day most goalies don’t start to see back roles till Subban’s age & become starters between 26 & 28.

        That said he just got waived & selected by Vegas off waivers, 1 of the last team eligible to select him. My comment was not directed a George but on topic. I’m not sold on Subban yet but not writing him off either but if Samsonov is available for help at D, in some form of trade Vgs would gladly take him regardless of who’s in the system or up to their armpits.

      • You’re forgetting the great Dylan Ferguson who they got from Dallas in that Methot trade (LOL). I just don’t think McPhee wants to find room in his minor league system for yet another goalie – at least until he and his staff can see exactly what it is coming down the pipe in their system. It’s not as if Samsonov is rated as the next coming of Georges Vezina.

      • Projecting goalies is hard at the best of times but Samsonov can stay in the KHL for several years or come over next season & play in the AHL for someone. THN Future Watch has him as the best goalie prospect & 18th overall prior to this seasons draft.

        I did mention Fergusion just not by name. “the 3 kids drafted this year might have bright futures but that’s a long way off”

        Going into next season, Vgs may well need another goalie in the AHL. With Dansk up they have Ferguson & Legacy in Chicago. Ferguson at 19 may be better served to be playing in the AHL.

        Vgs needs depth every where including in net.

        Do you see MAF in Vgs past next seasons trade deadline? I’d wager he’s probably traded even before then. Next summer seems like a logical time to look at moving him with 1 season left.


    Geoff Molson has been making calls to other GM’s to inquire about their Assistant GM’s.

    Internally Geoff and the board ideally want to hire a francophone.

    Don Maloney, Bill Guerin, Mike Futa, Dave Nonis, Paul Fenton, Steve Sullivan, Lee Jackson, Bill Zito, Tom Fitzgerald, Jim Schoenfeld, William Torrey and Tom Kurvers have all shown interest in the position.

    The two candidates at the top of the list are:

    Martin Brodeur


    Patrick Roy

    Yes that’s right…

    Patrick Roy.


    I have more news but will update later today or tomorrow.

    As usual…

    Your welcome!

    • Don’t forget about Julien Brisebois.. he could be an amazing fit to be GM in Montreal

    • I appreciate the insight but it’s pretty obvious where Bergevin is heading. It’s been obvious for me for several years. Bergevin has left Mtl devoid of prospects & I had him fired by Christmas before the puck dropped.

      I hope Mtl beings in Roy it can’t get any worse than it is now. Ha-ha!

      I don’t care if Price is the best goalie in the world, I’m not paying any golaie 10.5 mil per & certainly not 1 that will be 31 when that deal kicks in. Yes the stud goalies can play very effectively until in or around 38 but to much money for a position that can be filled more than adequately for 4 to 5 mil per year.

      & in case Bergevin missed the memo, as apparently he stopped reading after build from the net! Check Price. The next word in that memo was Out! Apparently he had stopped reading by that point, that starts with D. Marc should have read that part.

    • wait for it….

    • I wouldn’t let Roy have that position. That would send a tornado through a team needing stability.

      Roy won’t be able to bully his way around the GM’s of the NHL. And he has proven to be sane and sensible until he can’t have his way. When that happens he turns into a spoiled brat with temper tantrums. IMO Roy as the Canadiens GM would be a disaster waiting to happen.

      • That’s why I wish it would happen. Ha-ha!

        Being a Bruins fan no more hated rival. The Bruins have been on the wrong end of to many important games against Boston in my life time as a Bruins fan.

        I definitely have a personal bias on that issue. Ha-ha!

        No team I hate more, not the players, coaches, GM’s or ownership just the organization having so much success against my favorite team.

      • Sorry should read against Montreal.

  3. Since Buffalo is tanking again they might as well take on a bad contract to help a team with cap space, for example we get the backup goalie from Dallas who makes 5.9 million and they give us a draft pick. He only has this year left on deal, then they can add for cup run.

  4. While Dreger admits they could at some point reach that stage with any player outside of Carey Price, he doesn’t feel the Habs have reached it with Pacioretty.
    With all do respect I wonder if Carey Price is tradable? I would think that 8yr $10.5 per would take care of any trade talk. I’m not referring to his below standard numbers to start this season and also willing to acknowledge if his isn’t the best goalie out there he is right near the top. He’ll be 31 when his new contract kicks in for 8yrs, I don’t see him being elite at 35, too much money and term and imagine what the requested return would be, if Carey was willing to waive his nmc. Never say never but he’s a hab for life

  5. Habs are in trouble this season. You can’t get one of the 10 defence on VGK for a moderate draft pick ? I think you can.
    Bill Guerin was a favorite player.

  6. Perhaps Larkin should look at Capfreindly. Washington has 1,789.00 in cap space. Tanev is paid 4.45 mil per. Niskanen will need to miss a min of 10 games having been put on LTIR but that ins’t freeing up enough cap space to add a Dman like Tanev.

    Washington would need to set their sightes much lower than a Tanev if looking for help on D.

    Now if Niskanen’s injury is serious & he’s going to be gone months as opposed to weeks sure but we have had no reports on Niskanen’s timeline other than indefinately, no time table for his return.

  7. I expected MTL to have a down year but not this bad out of the gate. That said it’s still very early & Mtl has played a tough schedule.

    6 of their 8 games have been played on the road & 6 of those 8 games were played against playoff teams & not slouches but a bunch on the NHL’s best teams. The 2 teams they played that didn’t make the playoffs were Buf game 1 which they won & LA. 8 games in 16 days with a 2 sets of back to backs travelling to the west coast. Brutal schedule.

    I don’t care who you are, the majority of teams are coming through that schedule at 500 at best. Well the NHL’s perspective of 500 as an OTL to me is still a loss even though the NHL makes it look like a tie & gives that stupid 1 point creating false parity.

    Mtl isn’t a playoff team as constructed. I had Bergevin fired by Christmas before the season started, it will be happening much sooner than that now.

    You can’t move out your 3 of your top 5 Dman & expect positive results. That’s a serious continuity problem, then you trade a future stud Dman for a winger & decide we will have him play C. Good luck with that. It’s not working? Shocking! Hahahahaha

    • Their 1-5 on the road, a far cry from 500, that’s a 20% winning record or losing 80% of their games.

      • You have me at a loss. No idea what your referring to here?

  8. I would take Brodeur over Roy as GM. Didn’t he quit MTL already and then Colorado ? Not a good thing on a resume if you were applying for any job.
    Brodeur is way more pleasant

    • Oh I agree. If you have followed me here you know my opinion on Roy. 1 of the greatest goalies to play the game but a total wing nut. No 1 has a higher opinion of Roy than Roy.

  9. It doesn’t get any easier for Mtl, they play 8 games in the next 14 days starting vs Flo on Oct 24th, vs LA, vs NYR; at least someone gets to win that game, @ Ott, @ Min, @ Win, @ Chi, & vs Vgs on Nov 7th.

    Ugly. Compare that to schedule for NJ & Vgs. Not sure what the NHL is doing this year with the schedule but it’s really odd & seriously imbalanced out of the gate. It will balance out over the season but to start it creates a disparity that will need to balance out over time in the standings.

    Vgs has played 6 games so far, 5 of the 6 were against non playoff teams & the 1 playoff team was Boston who was playing the 2nd game of a back to back with no Bergeron nor Backes & Spooner going down in the 1st period to injury. 4 of those 6 were played at home. Their 1 road trip was Dallas & Arz, they could have bused to those 2 games.

    This isn’t meant to disparage Vgs’s accomplishments, they are playing well, my argument is it gives a false sense of security. Vgs plays 3 more at home, 7 of their 1st 9 before heading out on a 6 game road trip in 9 days?

    Let’s see how they fair on that 1st major road trip of the season. I say they go 1-3-2. 5 of those 6 games are against playoff teams from last season. 2-2-2 at best & those fresh legs won’t be so fresh when that fatigue sets in.

  10. Capfriendly still hasn’t posted AA’s signing. As Was relayed today & I have been stating since the summer, cap space needs to be cleared to get AA on the roster. I assume if Holland can’t find a trade partner Booth for sure & probably Witowksi are sent down to open up the cap space.

    Detroit can designate AA to non roster status once announced until fit to play, 10 days to 2 weeks max & run with a 21 man roster until an a LTIR injury happens or a trade can be found.

  11. To me, even before this season’s debacle, only hope for Habs is to trade Price.

    Price garners you multiple valuable pieces, of which Habs need MANY, either for a rebuild or win-now mode. They don’t have talent on the ice now, and very few good prospects.

    Won’t happen, but something like Price to Edmonton for Talbot & Draisaitl, with other working pieces? A team with McDavid & Price should be a favourite to win at least 2-3 Cups, which would be worth Price’s older years to Edmonton. Habs get a quality goalie and a different franchise piece (Draisaitl) in return.

    Alternatively, trade Price to a team with a Cup window of now for a young goalie, young forward & prospect/pick. Would you get Gibson, Silfverberg & 1st rounder for Price? Getzlaf & Perry’s window is getting mighty small…

    Just spitballing!

    • I am still trying to figure out what the hell was MB thinking with Price’s contract. That is at least 3 mil more than any goaltender in the league! Price never struck me as the kind of guy who needed ego support.

      I thought it all throughout the summer, and am still thinking it now… Is Bergevin intentionally trying to cripple the Canadiens? This disaster is way beyond just screwing up. I would never have believed the Canadiens would let him run amok to this extent. Who let him dismantle this franchise?

      • 2 million more per season than Lundqvist’s insane deal.

      • It’s true – I hated the Subban / Weber deal from the outset, but at least it made *some* semblance of sense. Last year’s trade deadline ruined the team and his signings this off-season did worse.

        Minimum five bad years coming up, unless Galchenyuk can morph into a 1C. Not impossible, but they’re sure not giving him a lot of opportunity!

    • Paddy, no way should Mtl trade for a young goalie. A young D and/or center, sure, but the Habs do have depth in prospects in goal. Lindgren is NHL back-up ready, McNiven is 1-2 years behind, and there is still a glimmer (stress on glimmer) of hope for Fucale and Cayden Primeau is as of yet undetermined but we’ll see.

      Oh and just saying, Roy should be considered for coaching Laval.

      • Fair points, all! And all the better for building a young team with the assets with Price could garner

  12. MB “Priced” him self out of that possbility with the new pending contract at $10m+

    Detroit would be fine but for the Nielson signing.A lot of dough and term with little value in return

    • Nielsen had a good year in Det last season scoring 17 goals & 41 points, 15 PP points. His icetime & PP time have been slashed this season & he finds himself playing as the 3rd line C with Frk & Helm as his linemates.

      Blashill is up to his old tricks. Abdelkader seeing 1st line PP time. 7 forwards are seeing more PP time than Nielsen. Nielsen is being paid way to much money to be a 3rd line C.

      It’s like Holland & Blashill are pulling in 2 different directions.

  13. Sheahan to Pit done.

  14. I thought Price left money on the table so the Habs could add players if needed.

    Montreal did the same thing Edmonton did, handed out mega contracts (Price, McDavid and Draisitl) to players that havent won anything. At least Chicago and L.A. have Cups to enjoy while in cap hell. Thats because nobody broke the bank until AFTER the team won a Cup.

    Montreal has some space to play with but I would think Price is now virtually untradeable. Much like Lundqvist in New York Price is about to watch his career circle the bowl with no hope of ever winning. The window for Edmonton is only open for this season. Once McDavids massive deal kicks in the Oilers will have zero space as well.

    Hawks, Kings, Capitals and Oilers all buried under the cap.