NHL Rumor Mill – October 5, 2017

by | Oct 5, 2017 | Rumors | 40 comments

Latest on Claude Giroux, Jordan Staal, Andreas Athanasiou and more in your NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Elliotte Friedman writes Philadelphia Flyers general manager Ron Hextall laughed off trade rumors at this year’s NHL draft suggesting Flyers center Claude Giroux was available. He still occasionally surfaces in the rumor mill.

Friedman said Hextall wouldn’t comment this time but a couple of rival GMs say they haven’t heard him bring up Giroux. “The captain has five more years on his contract at an $8.275-million cap hit and a no-movement clause.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The decline in Giroux’s production over the last two seasons led to concern that his game has diminished. There was some talk during the draft weekend linking him to the Montreal Canadiens. However, as Friedman notes, those rumors were quickly shot down by Hextall. I don’t believe Giroux is available, but another sub-par season could see him resurface in the rumor mill. 

Noting the contract standoff between the Detroit Red Wings and winger Andreas Athanasiou, Friedman wonders if there isn’t more to this story, perhaps how he’s used or his role on the ice. He believes there are teams interested in the 23-year-old forward, guessing the St. Louis Blues and Vancouver Canucks could be among them. He thinks those teams will wait and see if the Wings might consider a trade before considering an offer sheet.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The longer this stare down between the Wings and Athanasiou continues the more speculation will grow over his future in Detroit. The Wings are a cap-strapped team so an offer sheet is possible, but I think a trade is a more likely scenario. Still, don’t rule out the possibility of Athanasiou eventually re-signing with the Wings. 

Friedman also notes the Pittsburgh Penguins are resuming their search for a third-line center. He said they waited long enough to try and work out a deal with the Wings, citing the Athanasiou contract impasse. He thinks they asked the Carolina Hurricanes about bringing back Jordan Staal but the Canes refused.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford isn’t ruling out adding a third-line center but he’s indicated he’ll wait for the right deal. For now, he seems content with Greg McKegg and Carter Rowney centering his checking lines.

As for Staal, I don’t doubt the Pens would love to bring him back and he might waive his no-movement clause if the opportunity were presented to him. However, I don’t see how Pittsburgh can fit his $6 million annual cap hit into their budget. The Canes would have to pick up half his annual cap hit and I don’t think GM Ron Francis wants that dead cap space on his books. 

Speaking of the Hurricanes, Friedman notes head coach Bill Peters acknowledged the speculation suggesting his club should draw upon their depth in good young defenseman to add a scoring forward. However, Peters said he likes his defense the way it is. Friedman said it’s no secret teams like Colorado would love to land one of the Canes blueliners. Peters feels the offseason additions of forwards Marcus Kruger and Justin Williams could help. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Hurricanes struggle once again to stay in the playoff chase, they could consider shopping one of those rearguards for a scorer. However, GM Ron Francis stated back in July that he has no interest in parting with an asset for one that could depart in a year or two via free agency. In other words, if you want one of those d-men, be prepared to part with a quality long-term asset. 

Friedman considers the Columbus Blue Jackets to be in the same position as the Washington Capitals two years ago. He believes their window of opportunity to win a championship is now before contracts start dictating change. “They’re going to go for another scorer,” he writes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Since July, the Jackets were linked to Colorado Avalanche center Matt Duchene. I think the two sides could have a framework of a deal in place but the Avs have to lower their asking price to get it done. We’ll see how things shake out over the course of the season. If the Jackets can’t land Duchene, they’ll find other options before the Feb. 26 trade deadline. 

The Nashville Predators are looking for a forward. “Maybe a center, maybe a scorer.” However, they prefer not to give up anyone from their current roster. Friedman wonders if rival clubs might ask about promising prospect Eeli Tolvanen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Preds were briefly linked to Duchene earlier this summer. However, the Avs reportedly wanted one of their top-four defensemen and that was a deal breaker. 



  1. The Pens have over 3 mill in cap space with the trade of Pouliot so all they would need to do is send a Hornqvist or Hagelen the other way in a hypothetical trade for a Jordan Staal type of salary. It’s definitely doable. The Pens are loaded on the wing. The difficulty lies in finding the assets to make it worth the other team’s time. Olli Maatta looks much improved this year so he’s off the table. The Penguins top 4 D looks very good together right now but Hunwick is a disaster. MCKegg is better suited as 4C, he kind of looks like Matt Cullen. They need to upgrade the 3C and 6D spots or they will have real trouble winning again.

    • I really don’t think Stall should be in any plans for Pitt moving forward …they should not strap themselves in with any unwanted salary, they need to try and develop players as they have been doing into those roles and keep to the cap with a buffer!
      Just be patient and allow the process to unfold and let a guy who is competing for a spot like a Mckegg ( ETC ) to get a shot long term at a reasonable cap hit.

      I think the Flyers trading Giroux would be beneficial to them moving forward …however is this going to be a Duchene 2.0 in what Hextall is going to want coming back as this is a carbon copy of the scenario and value Duchene should warrant ..but the Flyers would most likely not need a D man in return and look more for a power forward at Center and draft picks instead!
      There are more teams willing to part with draft opicks and forwards then 1 – 2 D men…and 1 A prospects.

      • I’m not saying Jordan Staal specifically is the answer, he’s probably not. I was just responding to Lyle saying the Pens could not afford that deal if it was available. The developing route is not the answer for this season and McKegg would be better suited as a 4C. They need a 3C with some dynamic upside so they can put Kessel on his line sometimes when things are not working with Geno like last night. The three peat is still very possible and they should go for it. I wonder if Brandon Sutter is available or someone like that even?

    • Spot on.

      Do the Pens have the assets to bring in Duchene?
      The time is now to get it done and solidify the team.

  2. Wayne Simmons got a Hat Trick last Night.

  3. Jordan Staal makes $6 million per for the next 6 years he would be a very expensive #3C and besides the Pens would need to send back similar salary to afford him.

  4. The only match I can see with Claude Girioux is with Montreal. Been a French Canadian kid they may be willing to take on his contract. If G responds with a decent year I can see him being wanted by the Habs.
    Max Pacciority coming back. The money works for both teams

    • No chance the habs trade Pacioretty

  5. Jordan Stahl…. love him but Carolina has to eat some salary for the Penguins to acquire him… I’m not giving up Hornqvist or Hagelin they are too important to the Pens. One is simply clutch and guts and the other adds tremendous speed and penalty kill.

    The problem with waiting as Jim Rutherford did (and he has been amazing can’t really question tooo much) is now many guys that were available are off the table and harder to get.

  6. Carolina isn’t trading J. Staal, a solid 2 way C with size & a decent contract for his skill set. Not in the elite 2 way C class of a Bergeron but a force to play against.

    Why would they even consider eating salary or taking back the likes of Hornqvist or Hagelin? Pipe dreams.

    Francis has said he’s not moving quality assets for players with short term contracts. Carolina is a playoff team as constructed now & have 15 million in cap space to do what ever they want.

    It’s to bad Sakic wouldn’t take Fleury & some combination of picks & or prospects for Duchene as this would be a great fit even if only for 2 years. If Carolina can’t extend him next summer, trade him at some point leading up to the trade deadline in his final year. Who knows, perhaps Duchene would like the Carolina’s & resign.

    • @ Striker

      Iam sure Fleury would have been a great tendy choice for the Avs in a deal for Duchene but Iam also sure Fleury would not have waived his NTC to go there! IMO

      I think the Canes are going to surprise some people with the roster they have right now this year!

      • MAF would have been a good solution in Carolina.

        I just don’t see Carolina moving Staal at least not for several years, no forward logs more or harder minutes than J. Staal. in Carolina.

        This is the type of C almost every team covets, why would you move him right as the rebuild is starting to flourish?

        A great leader for the treasure trove of players Francis has assembled. This is 1 of the best young teams in the NHL just on the cusp of greatness.

      • Colorado is committed to Varlamov, IU never bought any of the Colorado was looking for a goalie rumors. The only issue with Varlamov has been his ability to stay healthy, his body of work considering the teams in front of him, especially at D has been solid.

        Colorado is going to surprise people this season. They are going to still be bad as in finishing 2nd to last in the West but they will score significantly more goals doing so, about 40 to 50 & post significantly more points than last years 48. I’d say in or around 70.

    • The Fleury name conundrum!

    • I agree with you Striker that Carolina could be a playoff team and with that much cap space just think of what they could add come trade deadline time. Now is the perfect time to relocate to Quebec City! I know, I know, there is no reason for it and it won’t happen but a guy can dream, can’t he? Hockey should be played in places where fans attend win or lose! It’s about seeing quality as much as it is about seeing your team.

      • I see Carolina potentially moving but not for at least 5 years due to structure of current lease arrangement. If Carolina is still drwaing as poorly when this lease expires I would assume they will be moved although the NHL really wants a presence in this market due to long term national TV aspirations. All these things come to fruition in a similiar timeline, 2021-22 & 2022-23.

      • Striker…..If I was going to go for $6 million dollar 3rd line center (which i”m not) I would go for a younger and more controllable option. Ryan Nugent Hopkins, he is 24, talented and under contract for 4 more years. Unlike Stahl and Duchense

      • All these C’s are out of Pit range & class at #3. They aren’t getting the value of a Binino that Benning eas kind enough to give them. Pit can’t afford to spend much more than 2 mil to fIll this position. 3 tops. More if a UFA rental at the trade deadline.

    • Striker i was responding to the article on updates on Jordan Stahl from above..please read before you criticize that would help. I know way suggested that Carolina trade him wake up and read dude. For the record his name has been on the block over the last two years….they do want to shed salary at some point. have a good day

      • It’s not specificly directed at you black N gold just on topic.

      • Kind o sounds like it was since it was posted likes minutes after I posted mine…whatever no worries …

      • Wasn’t meant to be, yes it was as it’s on topic part of the same discussion. Not directed at you & not meant to cause conflict, just an opinion again of the same subject matter.

    • Striker no one said that the trade for Staal was for sure going to happen. There was a question of the logistics of the deal fitting under the cap. Yes, if the Canes agreed to trade Staal, Hornqvist would be one of the assets going the other way. He has an expiring contact and could be flipped at the TDL for a first round pick. And that would allow the trade to fit under the cap. As to the trade actually happening no one made any claim that it was a possibility other than Friedman. We all know that it’s not happening and we don’t need you to be such an arrogant (d)ick about it. You don’t HAVE TO give you 2 cents every time.

    • Striker you are right, Carolina isn’t trading Staal, he is too important to the team. Staal plays against every teams top line and is one of the best defensive centers in the league. His faceoff percentage is near the top of the league and he plays a heavy two way game that can’t be replaced by anyone currently on the roster. Staal is a team leader, was named co captain today, and his salary is not an issue with the Hurricanes.

      Striker, I have seen several of your posts stating that Staal is Carolina’s 3rd line center at even strength. That’s not accurate and leads me to believe that you do not get a chance to see Carolina play very often. Lindholm is not the second line center as you mentioned a few days ago. As a matter of fact Derek Ryan may have played more minutes at center than Lindholm did last year. Lindholm is more effective on the wing and actually plays very well on Staal’s right side when he get the chance. This year Staal will finally have legitimate top 6 wingers on his line and I have no doubt his offensive numbers will be much better.

  7. TSN has reported that Vegas GM George MacPhee says he could make as many as three trades before Friday’s season debut. What is your take on this Lyle? What implications might this have on Calvin Pickard with Vegas bringing Subban in? Do you think teams in need of blueline help will be discussing things with MacPhee? I ask because it seems like a strange time to be talking trades as I would think most teams right now would want to see how their teams look for at least the first ten games or so.

    • Not sure if they trade Pickard who is a solid back up.
      I’m not sure about this but since they picked Subban off waivers they can actually send him down to their affiliate and he would not need to clear waivers.

      You’d have to think that they are looking to trade D-men so they can bring Shea up

      • For Vegas to send Subban down he would need to clear waivers. Same situation as Berube in NYI when he was plucked off waivers from LA.

        Vegas is buying time as obviously the trade scenario’s on the board aren’t ideal. Come game time Friday they have made trades to get Theodore, Shipachov & Tuch back to the NHL, the waive other players to make room or go with what they have until trades open up.

      • That makes sense Taz. When you think about it they are pretty deep in goaltending for a new team. Fleury, Subban, and Pickard are a pretty good place for an expansion team to start.

        I am a Leafs fan and would love to have one of Pickard or Subban backing up Anderson. Some of my buddies think I am too hard on McIlhenney.

      • Bobby Mac thinks this 3 headed goalie monster is unworkable considering Vegas’s other waiver issues & can only last 3 or 4 weeks. We’ll see.

      • Picard has been waived by Vegas.

      • Personally, I don’t get the Subban hype at all. His NHL numbers (small sample) are putrid, preseason and the 2 regular season games. His Ahl numbers aren’t exactly great either. What am I missing?

      • His name? Some people put a lot more stock in genetics than common sense.

  8. I thought MAF would have looked good in Buffalo actually. Just my opinion.

    • Lehners #’s are impressive. Same issue as Varlamov though, he has struggled to stay healthy.

    • Ironically I drafted Lehner as my #2 goalie in 1 of my fantasy leagues; 20 teams dress 1, to back up Rinne & also in 1 of my draft leagues as my #2, 15 team league need to goalies.

      Came cheap in both but the goalie market is slim with so many teams getting anyone with a pulse who may actually be a starter is challenging. Just has to stay healthy enough to play 55 games win 1/2 & get 5 shutouts ideally, anything more is a bonus.

    • MAF would have been a good fit in Buffalo. Carolina, Winnipeg or Calgary….

      Winnipeg gave up 7 last night…

      • And couldn’t even find the general direction of the net on multiple power-plays. With all that talent maybe it’s time to start pointing fingers at “the system” dictated by Maurice.

  9. Agreed. I didn’t like the Mason signing. I think MAF would have been a great option to buy Hellebuyck time.

    I also liked Halak as a short term rental, if they make the playoffs keep him, if out of it move him at the trade deadline.

    Mason isn’t a solution & 2 years at 4.1 doesn’t strike me as good value.

  10. Suitors should look at H.Fleury and Bean for Carolina.
    A couple of D-prospects a couple of years out . Maybe both for Duchene.

    Raantanen is going to have a good year

  11. Hey, Niemi still the “steal” of free agency!?