NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2017

by | Nov 13, 2017 | Rumors | 45 comments

Latest speculation on Alex Galchenyuk, Erik Gudbranson & Brendan Smith plus an update on the Bruins in your NHL rumor mill. 

THE HOCKEY NEWS: In his latest Friday AMA mailbag, Matt Larkin was asked who the Anaheim Ducks should deal for to bring in a much-needed forward. He suggests Montreal Canadiens left wing Alex Galchenyuk, noting he’s signed through 2020, can play wing or center and (despite the seeming lack of confidence in him from Habs management) is only 23 with a 30-goal season on his resume. Larkin suggests the cost could be defenseman Sami Vatanen, whose salary cap hit is close to Galchenyuk‘s. He points out the Ducks have depth in younger and cheaper blueliners who can do the same job as Vatanen. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Galchenyuk for a defenseman wouldn’t help the Canadiens’ scoring depth. On the other hand, Vatanen would bring a welcome boost to the Habs’ defense corps. Landing a scoring forward will likely cost the Ducks one of their defensemen, and I don’t see them parting with Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Brandon Montour, Josh Manson or Jacob Larsson. At some point, I expect Vatanen will be moved for a scoring forward, be it Galchenyuk, Evander Kane or somebody else. 

THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma reports on defenseman Erik Gudbranson’s uncertain future with the Vancouver Canucks. While the pending unrestricted free agent has surfaced this season in trade speculation, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said it’s not coming from him and praises the veteran’s leadership role with their younger players. Gudbranson said he doesn’t pay attention to the rumors and wants to stay in Vancouver. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning appears to like Gudbranson’s gritty style and leadership. The blueliner’s play leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline and whatever he’s seeking for a new contract will determine his future in Vancouver. 

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers will have to address their current situation with defenseman Brendan Smith sooner or later. After re-signing Smith last summer to a four-year, $17.4 million contract, he was a healthy scratch in five straight games and seven of the last 19. If coach Alain Vigneault is no longer sold on Smith as a regular part of the Blueshirts’ defense, Brooks believes GM Jeff Gorton should shop around for the best trade he can find so both sides can cut their losses. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Though not impossible to move Smith, that $4.35 million annual cap hit through 2021 is a stumbling block. Unless the Rangers agree to absorb part of that cap hit or to take on another toxic contract, they might have to wait until next summer, when teams have more cap room and willingness to spend, to find a suitable deal. 

BOSTON GLOBE: Fluto Shinzawa reports the banged-up Bruins’ recent struggles leaves them perilously close to the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. They need help, especially with their offense, but it could cost them some of their promising young assets. Shinzawa believes GM Don Sweeney faces the choice of sacrificing some of those assets for immediate help or ride out their current difficulties. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If there’s immediate help that also fits well into the Bruins’ rebuild, Sweeney might consider it. I’ll be surprised if he sacrifices some of that young capital simply for rental players. 



  1. As a Ranger fan, I’ve been happy with Gorton as GM. He’s pretty much steered clear of signing older guys to long term deals. Letting Yandle walk and not chasing other shiny objects… Getting Shatty on 4 year deal was a coup. But, the Smith signing to me was a mistake from beginning. I was very disappointed when he did it and I took a lot of flak from other fans on blogs. I said he would turn into the next Staal, contract wise. Thankfully he doesn’t have a full nmc. 15 team 1st 2 years and 10 team ntc last 2 years. Hopefully, as season goes on, he plays more and by deadline there is a need from another team for his services.

    • I would have preferred they just keep Girardi for another season possibly 2 before buying him out as opposed to signing Smith. With Girardi’s buy out added to Smith’s contract this D move is costing them more money than had they just retained Girardi.

      Smith did play well in a brief showing in NYR last season but he was often a healthy scratch often well in Det. How do you turn that into a 4 year 4.35 per deal?

      Gorton has done a bunch of smart things but a few head scratchers like any Gm. The Smith signing, the Girardi buyout was to much with 3 years remaining & compounded when factored in with Smith & I would have exposed Nash & retained Lindberg in the expansion draft. No guarantee Vgs may have selected him regardless & if they did so be it.

      You factor in Giradi’s buy out cap hit of 3.6 in the next 2 years with Smith & it’s like the sawp is going to cost a combined 7.95 in cap space over those final 2 years & what Girardi would have hit the cap for essentially this season. That just doesn’t make sense to me.

      In the meantime Girardi is doing what Girardi does, helping TB win games, leads D in hits, & blocked shots for TB, killing penalties on the 2nd unit playing a top 4 role. Playing a simple fairly sound defensive game. This basic swap didn’t make sense when the monies are accounted for.

      • Nash wasn’t eligible for expansion unless he waived ntc. I don’t see Lindbergh as a big loss as he’s already 26 and his ceiling was pretty much 3rd or 4th line center. Girardi gets beat a lot.. blocking shots and hitting only gets you so far. Was very surprised Tampa gave him 3 mil considering Rangers still paying him.

    • The League needs to do something about these contracts. With players going into “curious” long slumps after big contracts, teams need a way to get out from under long term contracts when the player loses his game. Say, after a couple of years after the beginning of the contract the team has an out clause if the player has two successive years of falling below a certain set benchmark. Or something like this. As it is, teams are stuck with these contracts. The players get too much security. These contracts need to go both ways to serve everyone’s interest. People will say, “well the team offered that contract. They didn’t have to, nobody forced them to give the player that contract…” But, the teams don’t really have an option. There are players who fall from their standard play never to meet it again during several years of that contract. The players shouldn’t be guaranteed anything. The team gets none, why should the players? It tips the balance of control too heavily for the player. Most players need an incentive to keep at the top of their game, and when many of them become rich fat cats, they become a little lax in their play. Just one player who does not own up to his contract, can put a team in a stall pattern.
      Teams need to be able to cut dead weight from their payroll without being at a long term disadvantage. This is not for players who are prevented from performing, only for players who can perform but won’t. It just happens too often to not address it. Teams can’t predict any player’s possible lackadaisical attitude after they get ensured money, but players know they will get their money.

      In a cap world teams need assurances of their own. This is one of the few areas I’m on the teams side. No player should be able to take his money and run. If players want to play their GMs this way, teams should just pay the player at the end of the year based on his year’s worth of play…

      That’s never going to happen, but this kind of player selfishness deserves teams a way out of a contract if the player fails to tow the mark of his own capabilities.

      I’ll get off my soapbox now…

      • There are 31 owners – talk to them.

      • what about assurances for the players? if they out perform their contracts do the owners have to pay up? how about the ELC’s and RFA that players slog through to get to the point they can try to earn the big bucks?

      • I see your point even if others don’t. What you’re advocating is something along the lines of the NFL where there are virtually no guaranteed contracts. Every spring around March a slew are cut loose from what were lucrative contracts and free to peddle their services elsewhere. In effect – you don’t perform to the expectations dictated by the deal we signed – try your luck someplace else. Injuries, of course, preclude that action, and there also has to be some protection against the “Comiskey Effect” when pitcher Eddie Cicotte of the White Sox was denied a bonus after winning 29 games in 1919 when the bonus called for 30 – of course, Comiskey told his manager to keep him out of his last several starts to make SURE he didn’t get 30. And that pr^*k is in the Baseball Hall Of Fame

      • Yeah, I just disagree. Like you said now one forces an owner to offer a contract. Besides their is a solution. Offer bonus contracts That pays a player a certain amount if they achieve certain marks. Or the league can go into the next CBA with the goal to cap an individual players salary as opposed to a teams salary.

        If teams were allowed to get out from contracts as you say every player would be offered excessive contracts pushing up payrolls and squeezing the cap of teams even tighter with no predictiability or stability of what the teams payroll would be year to year.

  2. Bleh, I would hate to give up on Galchenyuk, kids only 23 years old. Unless it’s a no brainer trade, ride it out for a year or two.

    And maybe help him out with some consistent line mates. I never know where he’s playing game to game, and that can’t be helpful for him.

    • As a fellow Habs fan, I give your comment a (thumbs up emoji)

    • The constant beat down Galchenyuk receives in Montreal & hard love from his coaches is odd. If he was given them same ice time and opportunities as other players on the roster he would have significantly more points than almost any of them.

      I get his work ethic leaves you wanting but his skill set should trump that. Quit trying to cram a square peg in a round hole. If you don’t like or want this player why sign him to a 3 year 4.9 mil per deal? That makes him a UFA in less than 3 years now, reducing his value in trade & moving a 4.9 mil per contract in season is challenging, not impossible but seriously reduces the # of possible trade destinations in season.

      Galchenyuk can come play on my team any time, would be happy to have him, he can replace Belesky, Ha-ha! Spooner, 1 of the D prospects not Carlo or McAvoy with Belesky to balance out the cap hits & a pick or picks of some nature.

      • That’s cause your team is bad. Keep him off mine.

        Haha. Just teasing

    • Galchenyuk sits 9th for forwards in Mtl in TOI/GP. That’s ridiculous. This isn’t a forward that should just be clinging to 3rd line minutes. Thankfully he see’s quality power play time but expecting him to score playing on a 3rd or 4th line at ES is expecting to much on a team with limited offense talents.

      I would really like to see Drouin moved back to RW as he played in TB with Galchenyuk on the left side & Danault in the middle. Try reuniting Patches with Plek & Gallagher.

      Here’s my ideal line up for Mtl baring a trade, moving wingers around as required for injuries, hot & cold streaks, coaches decisions etc.

      Galchenyuk, Danault, Drouin.
      Pacioretty, Plekenec, Gallagher.
      Lehkonen, Shaw, Byron.
      Hudon, Mitchell, Hemsky; when healthy, De La Rose.

      Ideally a trade would be found for a #2 C or 1B & Plek would move into the #3 spot pushing Shaw back to RW & Byron to the 4th line.

      • Galchenyuk reminds me of Kessel 2.0 Everyone beats on him …then he gets traded to the right situation and wins 2 cups. A perimeter player who wants to shoot, not play much defense but is a valuable part of your team. It feels like everyone wants Galcheyuk to play outside of his game..like be another type of player when he is not and its not just him game. Takes years to be a great 2way player. Give the kid a break in MTL and let him play. Talk him up instead of beat him down.

      • I agree fully. Mtl is shooting it’s self in the foot in the handling of this player.

      • Ha ha swing and a miss striker keep the trolling up!

      • Galchenyuk has had the misfortune of playing for 2 coaches (Therrien and Julien)
        who are hard-nosed about the system they expect their players to follow to the letter/ Just his luck to be dealt to Columbus. Ottawa or Toronto where the coaches are even more dogmatic about their “systems.”

  3. Sweeney has made a mess of the bruins, you have to wonder if he’s the next gm to go? Krejci and backes are anchors that will be tough to move unless giving a pick as well

    • Ha-ha!

      Swing & a miss.

      • In what way is that a swing and a miss?
        How do you justify Krejci’s cap hit for the next 3.5 years? He has never scored 25 goals and has one season where he almost got to 70 points?
        Backes brings a lot to the table when it comes to leadership and grit. That being said you can get that a lot cheaper than 6M for what is essentially a third liner for the Bruins. Not to mention they have a leader in Chara and his heir in Bergeron

      • It’s the old my team never does anything wrong taz, striker gums every gms move except Sweeney it’s the black n gold binders that striker wears

      • As always you can’t wrap your head around the business side of the game. Krejci was signed to that deal in Sept of 2014, a completely different cap world, a runaway cap world the Canadian dollar was at 94 cents.

        In 2013-14 the season he came out of before signing that contract in Sept of 2014, he tied for 9th in scoring at C! Boston lost to Mtl in 7 games in the 2nd round.

        In 2014-15 he got injured requiring surgery after posting 31 points in 47 games.

        In 2015-16 he posted 63 points in 72 games, good for 11th for C’s missing the start of the season from the same surgery.

        In 2016-17 54 points in 82 games good for a tie for 23rd by C’s playing with a hodgepodge of wingers & really only 1 winger in Backes, his primary other wingers were a rotation of Belesky, Vatrano or worse. Although not what I would call injury prone Krjeci played 2 years on a bad hip, playing through the pain.

        Backes is a top 6 forward, Injuries juggled him all over the line up early last season but he settled in as the #2 RW after playing C when injuries required him to do so seeing large portions at C on the 3rd line until Julien left & Cassidy finally returned Spooner to the #3 C spot.

        Backes was a 20 to 25 goal, 50 to 55 point player seeing 1st line icetime & PP time in StL. He never saw that time nor will he in Boston. In Boston he is a 2nd line player seeing 2nd line PP time primarily at RW but at C as injuries require. Boston couldn’t ice 2 quality PP units last season they loaded up 1.

        I have no issues with Backes contract. He was signed as a UFA & a highly sought after 1, his intangibles, size, skating ability, dedication to 2 way play, leadership at 6 mil for 5 years are palatable. I would have preferred 5 at 4 but in the UFA world that isn’t getting it done.

        Both Krejci & Backes NMC’s become modified NTC’s in the final 2 seasons of their remaining 3 year deals after this season allowing for them to be moved out in trade if Boston is so inclined.

      • Bigbear.

        You have been slagging me on Sakic who I supported, NYR who I supported, Ott who I supported, Yzerman who I supported. I have supported Holland although I think it’s time for him to pass the torch, I have supported Chiarelli, Shanahan, Murray in Buf, Francis, etc. Almost everyone with a few minor exceptions. Benning, Nill; & only on his choice not to address his D & sign Hanzal, Flo’s ownership’s decision to remove Tallon & Gallant, Lombardi & Bergevin. Hell I even defend Snow.

        I slagged Rutherford’s hiring, apologized twice, writing an apology note here to Rutherford.

        I have been slagging Bergevin. I think he has placed Mtl in a terrible position & how he has a job is odd. That is a personal bias to Mtl as I stated hear a few days ago. I hate Mtl. As a Bruins fan we have lost to many of those playoff battles. Is that a personal bias, absolutely with out question. Sorry Lyle we are opposite worlds with our favorite teams & you are winning. Ha-ha!

        I support almost everyone with a very few exceptions & I look to the facts. You just blow smoke & try to cause conflict. I’m fairly certain you epitomize trolling.

      • eh… foul tip. Sweeney aint doing to bad.. baskes and kreji are bad contracts and would be very tough to get out of… says the man shocked at how good a return stepan got so who knows

    • Bigbear, so lets troll. First Sweeney didn’t draft Krecji with that said, if he’s healthy he is very productive and very good. Backes signing I didn’t have an issue with and still don’t. But for most of Sweeney criticism comes from the 3 consecutive picks in the 2015 draft Zboril, Debrusk and Senyshyn and most hockey experts thought the logical choices should’ve been Barzal, Connor and Chabot. As of date Barzal 19 games 3g 11a 14pts, Connor 31 games 7a and 13pts, Chabot 4 games 0g 2a 2pts; Neither Zboril or Senyshyn have played and NHL as of date Debrusk 15 games 3g 3a 6pts. For me it’s still to early to say what Boston has or doesn’t have in the three 1st round picks but I do like Debrusk game and I have watch Kyle Connor in Winnipeg love his speed and what he has to offer but I like Debrusk game and willingness to go to the dirty areas. Neither Chabot or Zboril has made an NHL impact and as Guy Boucher has said Chabot hasn’t been better then what he has at present, this doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be good but got some things to work on. Zboril has 0 points in the AHL but they like his game he’s playing a solid D and is a plus 7. Senyshyn has 2g and 5pts and +2 in 12 games, still too early to evaluate but has tremendous speed and excellent shot.
      In short to early to say if Sweeney missed the boat or not, but he didn’t miss on the second round pick of Brandon Carlo of the same draft.

      • Drafting 17 & 18 year old kids is not an exact science. If Boston has missed on their selections we won’t know for 5 to 8 years. The normal development path to the NHL is 2 to 3 years after being drafted for forwards to even start their careers for Dman 3 to 4 & then forwards need 2 to 3 years or in or around 200 games, for Dman 4 to 6 years or in or around 400 games to fully develop & learn the NHL game & be the players they will be for many years in the NHL.

        If Boston missed on some of their selections which they will, just like everyone else, we won’t know for many years. All you need do is look at the odds that a player makes the NHL by round or if you prefer groupings with in rounds. Get drafted outside the top 5 & your chances of being a solid NHL player drop significantly. Outside the 1st round slim to non existent. Pedigree creates opportunity & to usurp such is difficult. As always it comes down to money.

        Why don’t you ever have anything positive to add to the discussion or debate? Why is it always necessary for you no be negative & try to stir the pot?

  4. As a Bruin’s fan, I think it’s time to bite the proverbial bullet and ride out the bumpy waves. I know there’s a price to be paid, but the fact is the current team, healthy or not, is not a cup contender. Period. Some, maybe even most, of the fan base is ready to face the dark valleys on the way to integrating younger players to make the team faster, better and truly competitive long term. The challenge for DS is getting rebuild buy-in from ownership. Let’s not kid ourselves folks, a rebuild is necessary. Dealing prospects for short term bandages, in my view, is not the answer. We’ve seen far to much of that over the years. In the past 2 decades or more, the Bruins, like no other team, has frivolously discarded young assets in exchange for the equivalent of hockey peanuts. Much of the Bruin’s fan base is tolerant, but we’re not stupid.

    • Well said, to many bad contracts they need to get rid of and than the rebuild and no striker the rebuild has not started! Ha ha

      • Well then I don’t know how you classify a rebuild. It’s obviously not the same as mine & there isn’t only 1 way to rebuild a team there are several.

        Boston as added 8 to 10 rookies to their current roster since Sweeney took over. That’s almost 1/2 the roster if that’s not a rebuild I’m lost & a ton more coming.

    • Walter, who is you want gone? Krecji, Belesky, Backes, Rask and Chara. There presently is a lot of youth in this lineup and you are not Moving Bergeron or Marchand. The reality is Belesky, Krecji, Backes and Rask are not tradable for various and different reasons.
      If Krecji is healty that balances the first two lines with Bergeron, Marchand and Bjork then Krecji, Pastrnak and Debrusk. That’s two very solid lines that match up very well against any other two lines in the NHL. Backes centering the third line is a bad problem to have other then his the $$ are to much for a third line center.
      Don’t understand how you don’t see all the youth in the lineup.

  5. Smith as a healthy scratch at $4.35 is not a good thing. How would you trade him ? It would be for next to nothing.
    Good finish to the season and decent playoffs. These gm’s have to look at a larger body of work.

    • Honestly, take what you can get and cut your losses. I’ve said it before, I think Gorton would’ve let him walk if he was confident he would get Shattenkirk. Same for trade of Stepan. DeAngelo was seen as the puck moving right D they needed. I’m ok with the Trade but Smith was unnecessary signing

  6. Just wanted to pass along kudos for a great site. This is more informative than most other hockey sites who have more glitz and glamour but less substance. Always on top of things Lyle. Thanks.

    • Thanks for the kind words and your support, Frank.

      • Mainly a lurker but I’ve been a follower of this site for what seems ten years now. I love the info you provide Lyle. I also enjoy the banter from true hockey fans.

        Thanks Lyle for what you do.

  7. Boston is in a rebuild, it started when Sweeney was hired in May of 2015. It’s just not a total tear down like we saw in numerous other cities. With the new lottery rules playing to lose makes no sense.

    Boston has stayed competitive thru the process missing out on the playoffs 2 years in a row by 1/2 a point in the last game of the season making it last season.

    Boston sits 6-6-4 after 16 games & have yet to ice anything close to a healthy roster. The fact their even hanging in there considering the roster they have been forced to dress is a testament to the depth of youth Sweeney has put in place.

    Krejci will be back at some point late next week, Spooner in about 2 more weeks, McQuad about a month & Backes probably after the Xmas break.

    All they need to do is to continue to hang in their, stay in the hunt until healthy.

    Boston is in the 3rd year of it’s rebuild.It just started this season. Numerous kids have been given full time roles in Boston since Sweeney was hired. Pastrnak, Carlo, Spooner, McAvoy, Schaller, Bjork, Vatrano & Kuraly. Nor did I even mention Debrusk & Heinen who if not for injuries would most likely be playing in the AHL as I write this.

    How much more youth do you want added at present? This is a playoff team if it can stay fairly healthy, a bubble 1 yes but I’m all good with that. Stay the course let the kids see ice time they would otherwise not be seeing.

    If a trade can be made that helps & makes sense great but mortgage non of the future unless it’s picks & possibly 1 of the D prospects not Carlo or McAvoy for a player with at least 3 years of contractual obligation or facing RFA status coming out of their current contract.

    Galchenyuk would work for me if the salaries can be balanced out some how & the cost isn’t to onerous but fair. The question being what is fair.

    • Sorry that got away from me. Ha-ha! Trying to be more concise.

    • What are the odds that Krecji plays the rest of the season? He’s a terrific player but one could almost call him injury – prone. I think Backes is headed that way as well. Not sure what the GM can do but he might look for some depth at centre.

    • Does anyone know anything about rumors of off Ice issues with Galchenyuk??? Alchohol issues???

  8. No Marchand or Bjork for the trip to California. Boston heads out on a 4 game road trip playing Anh on Wed, LA on Thur & then SJ on Sat, finally returning to play NJ on the Wed before returning home.

    3 games in 4 days on the west coast. Ouch! If they can come out of that at even 1-2 I would be happy. The only other team facing this injury hurdle at present is Anh who they see 1st thankfully, giving them some hope of winning that game anything better & I’ll be happy. They could easily go 0-4.

    Boston will be icing what will look almost like an AHL roster at forward. I assume something like this.

    Debrusk, Bergeron, Pastrnak.
    Heinen, Szwarz, Vatrano.
    Belesky, Nash, Acciari.
    Schaller, Kuraly, ?

    I assume Czarnik & Agostino will be called up & Krejci is going on the road so he may return at some point but that’s pretty scary & a ton of youth & it shouldn’t be able to compete with NHL rosters.

    • Every eastern team has to go through that left coast grind – it’s where you begin to see that separation of teams hanging around the last wild card slot every season.

      A couple of years back it’s where I expected Ottawa to wither and die on the vine, especially with call-up goalie Hammond expected to carry the load. So what does he do? Back to back SO in LA and Anaheim, a win in San Jose, an OT loss in Minnesota and a win in Winnipeg! Thus was born “the Hamburglar.” You just never know.

      • For Rangers, I’ve always liked the west coast swing. It’s a good trip for guys to hit road and bond. I think looking at team a lot of success could be attributed to chemistry. Haven’t seen any problem players in years

  9. If Boston is rebuilding then why on earth would they sign David Backes to a 5 yr contract? Horrible … a future buyout candidate imo.

    Gorton should have known what he was getting in Brendan Smith … a serviceable 3rd pair vet for a playoff run. The contract he dished out gets GM’s fired. Getting him off the books would be a tremendous win but that’s a longshot.

  10. I wouldn’t count the Bruins out just yet they haven’t had a full lineup yet. Missing key players is tuff to over come if they get healthy they will be fine. Still think there cupboard is full of young promising prospects time will tell.

  11. Instead of Smith being a healthy scratch every game how about we trade him for Spezza , Smith is signed for 4 yrs and Spezza for 2 money is about the same and we need help at center .