NHL Rumor Mill – December 11, 2017

by | Dec 11, 2017 | Rumors | 64 comments

Latest on the Ottawa Senators plus updates on Alex Galchenyuk and Michael Hutchinson in your NHL rumor mill.


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators general manager Pierre Dorion has turned up efforts to swing a deal to help his struggling club, including asking those Senators carrying no-trade clauses to submit 10-team no-trade lists. They include Erik Karlsson, Bobby Ryan, Nate Thompson, Mike Hoffman, Derick Brassard, Alex Burrows, Zack Smith, Nate Thompson, Dion Phaneuf and Johnny Oduya. Sidelined winger Clarke MacArthur (concussion symptoms) also has a no-trade clause but he’s unlikely to play again.

Garrioch considers it “highly improbable” the Senators will trade Karlsson, citing two league sources claiming the Ottawa captain hasn’t been offered around the league “or even discussed for that matter.” Karlsson raised eyebrows with his recent comments rejecting the notion of signing a hometown discount before his eligibility in 2019 for unrestricted free agency. However, he’s also indicated staying in Ottawa remains his first choice. Garrioch said the plan remains for Dorion to meet with Karlsson next July 1 to see if an agreement can be reached on a long-term extension.

Meanwhile, Dorion continues working the phones with the Dec. 19 start of the NHL holiday trade freeze fast approaching. Garrioch cites league executives suggesting Hoffman, center Jean-Gabriel Pageau and defenseman Cody Ceci as three options who could fetch the best return. He wonders if Brassard could interest playoff contenders. While Smith was a hot commodity in the past, Garrioch doesn’t think he’ll bring back much in a trade for the Sens.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hoffman and Ceci are likely the best trade chips. Hoffman or Brassard could interest a club in need of offense, such as the Carolina Hurricanes, Montreal Canadiens or San Jose Sharks, while the Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks or New York Islanders could come calling about Ceci. Still, finding a return for either guy that immediately reverses the Sens’ fortunes won’t be easy. 

As for Karlsson, he won’t be traded this season. That move comes next summer at the earliest if he and Dorion are unable to reach agreement on a new contract. Interested teams will want the opportunity to discuss a contract extension with him before agreeing to acquire him via trade. The earliest opportunity to do that is next July. 


MONTREAL GAZETTE: Stu Cowan believes things don’t seem to be working out for winger Alex Galchenyuk with the Montreal Canadiens. Despite his offensive abilities, the club doesn’t believe he’s capable of playing at center and he’s struggled to improve his defensive play. Cowan suggests the longer Galchenyuk stays in Montreal the lower his trade value becomes. The 23-year-old winger has one 30-goal season on his resume and has the potential to reach that total again, but Cowan doubts that’ll happen with the Habs.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Galchenyuk hasn’t been the same since a knee injury sidelined him for 18 games last season, followed by Claude Julien taking over as head coach in February. Habs GM Marc Bergevin insists he won’t give up on Galchenyuk, but I think he’s also worried about trading the winger for pennies on the dollar and he blossoms as a scorer with his new team.

Perhaps the best time to trade Galchenyuk was last June, when his value was obviously higher than it is now. They’re unlikely to get a favorable return for him at this point. The two sides are probably stuck with each other for the remainder of this season, likely Galcheyuk’s last in Montreal. I expect Bergervin (or his replacement?) will peddle the winger next summer in hopes his value might improve by then.


NBC SPORTS: Scott Billeck suggests Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon should look to the Winnipeg Jets to address his goaltending needs. With starter Roberto Luongo sidelined week-to-week and backup James Reimer not the model of consistency, Billeck thinks the Jets third-stringer Michael Hutchinson could be the perfect fit for the Panthers. Hutchinson leads the AHL in save percentage (.951) while his 1.73 goals-against average ranks second. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Oilers are also reportedly interested in Hutchinson. However, TSN’s Darren Dreger reports the netminder suffered a groin injury during a shootout on Saturday. If it’s serious, we can forget about him as a trade option for the Panthers, Oilers or anyone else. 



  1. When Dorion meets with Karlsson his FIRST questions should be “why did you say to the media, when asked, that you would not entertain a hometown discount? Why did you not simply say “I don’t want to discuss contract issues that far in advance?”

    The answers to those questions should then be aired publicly – since Karlsson chose to go public himself – and will go a long way to letting the fan-base know the exact picture. –

    • I’m sure he’ll sign in OTT then if that actually occurred!

      • I hope the sense of sarcasm I hear in your response Noel, to George O., is correct on my part. The reason Karlsson signs or doesn’t sign is immaterial actually at least with respect to contractual obligations. They signed his last contract to play for however long it was and for whatever amount of money. The contract is almost over. It’s called business. Trying to hold Karlsson to account regarding his comments is Elementary School discipline at its best.

    • He doesn’t see a bright future in Ott and wants out … this is his way of forcing the Sens hand. And if I’m Melnyk no way I allow Dorian to make these moves.

    • If I’m Karlsson responding, I would gladly have my reply of
      “Coz you ruined this team and it’s future. That and I hate Crawford haircuts!!”

      What do you think the outcry from that public response be?

    • How quickly fans forget what he did for the Sens in the playoffs.

      • No one has forgotten Taz. Just that some – like me – see absolutely NO room in pro sports for “sentimentality.” Whether that’s right or wrong is immaterial – it’s simply the way some of us choose to view things. Chacun a son goût.

  2. Alex Galchenyuk suffered a knee injury in his draft year as well. Under the right circumstance he could flourish with another team. Not sure who that is but I am certain the return would be speculative

  3. Karlsson’s comments to the press aren’t an earth shattering revelation & have little bearing on Karlsson’s future with Ottawa. Karlsson is 1 of the 3 best Dman in the game today, for many the games #1. He has every right to seek a salary comparable to the leagues best players & Dman based on his play, not just for this year but his career.

    I pay players fair market value, as do most teams, I would use comparables as would most teams but as a pending UFA following the 2018-19 season that gives Karlsson the potential to set a new market for Dman & McDavid’s contract set a new market for almost everyone.

    The issue is simply going to be does Karlsson want to play in Ottawa, does Ottawa want to pay what he wants & how much wiggle room is open for negotiation. I wouldn’t give Ottawa a home town discount either.

    Going to play for a cup contender might be nice & although Ottawa had a great run last year few even had them to a be a playoff team last season, I did & had to defend that position to most here but they aren’t a cup contender today nor do they appear to be in the near term, the next 2 or 3 years. After that? Much will depend on the kids they have drafted & can Dorion plug the holes all these pending UFA’s a year out may create, who knows.

    • I think there is often pressure from the PA as a whole when a market setting contract is coming up, to try and maximize it’s value and reset the market for a type of contract.

      It won’t be hard for Karlsson’s agent to simply point out that PK Subban got $9M against a $64.3M cap, so Karlsson’s starting point it likely going to be around $11M if the cap is $78M+. I think it will be important for the PA to get their firs few defensemen above the $10M threshold, and with the guys that will be up for renewal at that time, I can’t imagine we don’t get the bar set somewhere north of $11M.

      • Absolutely there is pressure from the NHLPA for players to do everything possible to maximise their salaries especially at the top end of the salary scale.

        Escrow was just maintained at slightly over 11% in this last BOG meetings. Players are still asking for raises faster than HRR can keep pace for the 50/50 distribution presently in place.

        If players want to eliminate escrow they need to quit forcing salary escalation so quickly.

      • With the current system, Escrow is a bit of a necessity. The players know that in any season there was no escrow, that means as a group they received less than their entitlement to revenue. Since there is no good mechanism to rectify the shortfall when it’s meant to be in the players favour, the PA would actually prefer knowing there was some escrow, just because it means they go their fair share immediately, not trickled to them through cap increases.

      • Danny, I think you’re absolutely right about upward pressure from the PA. Of course I wonder about the sense of this as in a hard cap world it simply takes money away from other members of the PA. After the cap increase was announced apparently one of the GMs commented that it would likely go to one or two star players on each team. Seems like guys get their big paydays, often at the expense of future team success.

  4. There are no quick fixes for what ails Ottawa, moving a Ceci or a Hoffman isn’t going to help, these are 2 of Ottawa’s best players, & Ceci is just a kid still almost 2 years from being fully developed.

    Not retaining Methot was a huge mistake. Ottawa can’t ice 2 solid D pairings yet again & the results are obvious. Methot was a great partner for Karlsson, he allowed Karlsson to take chances & no 1 has been found to assume that role, the consequences are obvious.

    Boucher’s system last season made this roster look far better than it really is or was. Expecting players like Smith, Dzingel & Pageau to contribute consistently offensively as 2nd liners or high end #3’s is fraught with peril as really all are solid 2 way 3rd liners & if being deployed on the 1st or 2nd line that’s a problem.

    Ottawa can’t even ice 2 solid scoring lines, Ryan has been terrible. Hoffman is always the whipping boy, he’s the 1st 1 relegated to the 3rd line as his D game isn’t great but really if not Ottawa’s best trigger man he’s their #2, Ottawa is doing a decent job of suppressing shots but Anderson & Condon aren’t stealing games & then you have a terrible PP & PK.

    Ottawa just completed it’s 1st onerous road trip of the year & now sits at 14 home games & 14 road games. They had to play 9 of their last 10 on the road to balance out their schedule, playing 3 back to backs in that stretch. They still have 13 back to backs left on their schedule.

    These scheduling discrepancy’s need to play out. There is no salvaging this season for Ottawa. Their goose was cooked before the season started & it’s on Dorion for not addressing the holes on this roster.

    • Maybe Ian Cole could replace Methot and play with Karlsson. He’s got experience playing with Shultz and Maatta and he’s a good defensive dman. Ian Cole(he re-signs)Kasper Bjorkvist, Carl Haglen and a second for Brassard and Pageau? You might say well Cole is not a top pairing guy, well neither is Methot.

      • Methot played as Ottawa’s top pairing Dman with Karlsson for many years & it worked.

        Cole as a pending UFA he won’t be on Ottawa’s wish list. No chance they can resign him nor would they be willing to meet his rumored asking price if Pit signed for the purposes of a trade.

        I prospect that doesn’t even make Pit’s top 5 prospects & this isn’t a strong prospect pool, Hagelin; good luck with that, & a 2nd for A soft #1 C in Brassard & a decent to solid #3 in Pageau for what exactly?

      • Forget it … Pens are thin with Cole, let alone w/o him. Only d-man worth trading is Kris LeTurnover.

      • Brassard is not nor never was a 1C. On a contender he’s a tweeter 2-3. Is Methot injured because he’s not playing in Dallas at all right now? Methot has played 15 games this year has zero points and is a dash one. That’s not top pairing numbers. Cole played on the de facto number 2 pair for 2 consecutive Stanley cups. Methot played above his head in Ottawa and Cole could easily replace him and Cole would sign anywhere that gives him the 4 mill he’s looking for. F Haglen he’s just there for salary cap reasons, although they could flip him to a team looking for speed on the wings like Edmonton. Bjorkvist is a former first round pick who is taking the long road to the NHL by playing 4 years in college. He is also a trusted 2 way player on a very strong Swedish world junior championship team. Why the hell are the Pens throwing in a top 5 prospect for an old centre and a guy in Pageau that it sounds like they are running out of town? Even for your riteous self Striker that is dopey talk. The Sens are sellers pure and simple. They got played in the Duchene deal and the they will get Played again.

      • And speaking of dopey “Kris Le-turnover” takes the prize. Letang will be just fine.

      • Sorry I meant second round pick

  5. If the Habs want to shop Galchenyuk, they need to start playing him at center and let him sink or swim there.

    The knock on him already is that he’s a winger only, so if he can prove he can play center (and win faceoffs) the Habs might be able to get a solid return for him.

    Or decide he’s then worth keeping, of course.

    • It couldn’t be any worse than playing Drouin at C as that isn’t working either.

      I’d be happy if Montreal would just quit beating this kids down, except what he is & play him accordingly. Burying this player & constantly beating him down makes no sense.

      • Agreed with you both. Habs are shooting themselves in the foot twice over with their handling of Galchenyuk.

      • Kessel 2.0. Getting beat down by everyone….He has defensive deficiencies. So does 50% of the league LOL. Instead of beating him down for not winning a Frank Selke Award every year…how about setting him up for success and put him in a position to succeed. Build upon what he does well and let him flourish.

        Kessel needed a top center and now look at him. won 2 cups AND is a consistent offensive threat. They know he is not top on D but they have a winger on that line that covers for that.

        Same should be so for Galchenyuk. Sad…. really is…. Did they outcast Gainey and Lemaire, etc..for not scoring 50 goals a year? So let the kid just play.

        They really just do not have any centers that are creative. That is roster management….management’s fault


    • I look at this with a different perspective. If Galchenyuk wants a shot at C, then start playing better defensively and earn your ice time and promotion. He either can’t or won’t.
      CJ job is to win games. He is accountable to ownership, management, the fans and most importantly all the players in that room. If guys like Gallager are out there getting his face pushed into the glass to win a loose puck and not cheating defensively, then you can’t promote guys who won’t pay the price and cheat defensively.
      You earn your ice time. That is the only way it can work and be successful as a team.
      Kessel plays a more complete game since he got to PIT and Toronto moving him made sense as they were in the early stages of a rebuild and needed a significant culture change. Deserved or not Kessel was a lightning rod for that culture.

  6. Fair market value is 10-15% of the salary cap which is likely going to go up to $80 million or possibly more next year. Karlsson could want 15-20% of the cap. I’m not even sure if there is an NHL defensemen over the $10 million range yet so his comparables will be with elite forwards such as McDavid, Crosby, Toews, and Kane. Ottawa, if they decide to keep him will want to argue his comparable could be the highest price defensemen today or elite players who took hometown discounts like Stamkos so that the teams could have enough room to sign good players to surround them with.

    It might be a two pronged tactic to maximize the offer Ottawa gives him, and also sending a message to all teams if he decides to go to UFA status.

    In the end, two questions must be answered by Ottawa:

    1- how valuable is Karlsson to the team and its success to be a true contender over the duration of the expensive contract that will follow?

    2- can the return they generate through a Karlsson trade maintain or better the team and its success moving forward.

    • 1 – They ARE a legitimate cup contender, but only with him. He can carry the team on one leg.

      2 – It’s impossible to replace him. You cannot win any trade that involves Karlsson.

      Norris finalist 4 of last 6 seasons, won twice. There isn’t a better defenseman in the game. So, give him the $96 mil.

      • Ottawa sits 15th in the east, 29th overall, apparently they aren’t a cup contender with Karlsson on 1 leg or 2.

        Those Norris trophy’s & ballots have allowed Ottawa to win what with Karlsson?

        12 mil per, I’ll pass.

        The return if traded would be huge & could set Ottawa up for the next decade.

        Ideally Karlsson would take fair market value & that’s set based on comparable contracts signed to date. Hedman’s new deal just kicked in for 8 years at 7.875, Burns 8 years for 8, Fowler’s kicks in next season for 8 years at 6.5, Buffy 5 years at 7.6, Ekblad 8 years at 7.5, Subban got 8 years at 9 when signed in 2014 with a year remaining on his previous deal.

        Mcdavid’s camp used the % of cap hit to convince Chiarelli to sign that deal, fundamentally flawed concept as with teams moving to rolling 4 lines the monies needed to flush out your middle & bottom lines don’t allow for 1 player to eat this much of a teams cap hit.

        As stated previously Pit & Chi had the luxury of a different the cap world when they signed Crosby Hossa & Keith. That allowed them significant monies to be sent to flush out the roster else where. Those opportunities are now gone never to be seen again.

      • You think the Sens are legit Cup contenders??? pass the crack pipe this way …

      • Careful there Ed. Weren’t you the one who described as “asinine” my contention that a late November game was a defining moment for both the Sens as a team and Dorion as a GM? 1 win and 7 losses later how asinine is it looking now?

  7. E.K. should only take a discount if the Sens were to spend near the cap signing players enabling them to compete for the cup but cheapskate owner just wants to save money and not enough fans support the team. Jets have people driving hours to come to the games.

    • Ottawa has the 12th highest cap hit the NHL, 2.6 mil from the ceiling. How is that cheap?

      Stone, Ceci, Cleasson & Harpur; has to clear waivers next season, are all RFA’s next season, they will eat up all the coming cap space. Stone is moving into the 6 mil range, Ceci 5, that won’t leave much cap space for Ottawa next season & unless they move salary out they will be spending at or near the cap again next season.

    • They only have $1.7m in cap space. I don’t see how this makes the owner a cheapskate.

  8. Seriously, wtf is going on in Ottawa??

    • The love affair with Boucher is over, not being able to put out 2 solid D pairings on the ice letting Karlsson’s long term partner leave has been devastating.

      Not bringing in another scoring winger this summer has made icing 2 scoring lines challenging & Anderson isn’t stealing games like in the past.

      Ott’s success last season has given most a false sense of what Ott really is.

    • what do you mean, you said they are Cup contenders … nothing is going on.

      • I’m on the lonely side that believes last year was no fluke. But this is craziness this team being this bad. Even if you don’t think they’re a contender you don’t think they’re this bad.

  9. Ottawa should consider moving a pick or mid to high prospect along with Bobby Ryan. Same with Phaneuf.
    The cap flexibility and roster spot opening will allow them to resign Karlsson immediately AND bring up more youth to fill in the gaps. Yes they are struggling BUT I cannot see moving Ceci over Phaneuf. I cannot see moving Hoffman over Ryan.

  10. The willingness to pander by some in this page underscores what is wrong with professional sports, trotting out “market value” and other such banalities to justify the moronic salaries being earned by many in all such sports, while aiding and abetting the stupidity by paying the ever-increasing freight with their own hard-earned cash.

    • So stop being such a panderingbear George. You support those systems every time you go to a game every time you watch a game on tv every time a game is on your radio and every time you comment on a hockey board. Though if you stopped commenting I’d miss you you ol curmudgeon

      • LOL. Well thanks. But you know what chrisms, in my comment I didn’t imply that I WASN’T one to pander – although I will say I have severely curtailed any financial “support” directed their way.

        What I DO like doing is stirring the pot and if you look back over the past little while you’ll see that some of my comments have generated, on occasion, the most discussion in these pages. Yanking one chain in particular often makes my day.

      • Oh, and by the way, “curmudgeon” is defined as “a crusty, ill-tempered, and usually old man.” Well, I guess by many standards that pushing 80 is “old” so, mea culpa. Ill-tempered?? I dunno, I don’t think of myself as ill-tempered – but I have been known to have a short fuse. As for “crusty” – I suppose in sites like these that people form images in their mind of the others based upon their comments and language use. But for visual purposes, I am 6′ 2″ 210 lbs and still work out and I don’t FEEL like I’m edging up on 80. But maybe one of these days, like Oliver Wendell Holmes’ “Wonderful One Hoss Shay” (look it up) everything will fall apart at the same time. LOL.

      • Sorry studly. My bad.

        And you often promote some right handsome discussions

      • oh… curious… did that come from wiki? or the set of encyclopedia britanica you bought when you were retiring? 🙂

      • Nope. Originality is my game. Hell, I remember going to a Home Show here in Ottawa in the early 1980s where there was this booth selling the Britannica and when I told the seller that everything in his book set would one day be available at the touch of a button he looked at me like I just stepped out of Bedlam.

  11. As was mentioned by Striker, Karlsson on one leg, let alone two, can’t do anything by himself. He has to be surrounded by a supporting cast. One needs only to look at Edmonton to see what it means to surround your franchise player with overpaid non-producers like Lucic. These 5-6 million dollar plus contracts, many of which no trade clauses are what is going to screw a lot of teams.

    I was watching Edm-Tor game last night and McDavid looks like he’s skating through an entire team and the rest of his teammates can’t even keep up. Hence, the passes that don’t connect, defensemen that take snapshots that don’t hit the net and players that don’t know if they’re coming or going.

    Ottawa can try and dump some of these type of contracts but they better hope they have something decent in the minors otherwise they’ll be surrounding Karlsson with David Clarksons and minor leaguers who can’t produce.

    • Heh. Hell, he’s surrounded NOW by major leaguers (so-called) who can’t produce:

      Last 12 games
      Dzingel – 4 goals 2 assists – has been their most productive, followed by Hoffman’s 3 goals 2 assists and Stone with 2 goals and 4 assists. Duchene has 2 goals – 2 assists, then comes Pageau with 2 goals 1 assist, Ryan – 1 goals 2 assists, Smith and Pyatt =- 1 goals – 1 assist each, Brassard, Ceci and Phaneuf – 0 goals 2 assists each, and Burrows and Thompson – 0 goals 1 assist each.

      OVER 12 GAMES! How in hell can anyone they bring up do worse?

      • 9 of those 12 games played on the road, 3 back to backs, 7 games played against teams that made the playoffs last season, 4 of the games against teams that didn’t make it were NYI twice, LA & Win. 12 games in 23 nights with a west coast road trip, a recipe for disaster for almost any team especially 1 built like Ott.

    • I feel like I’m on crazy pills. Did anyone watch the playoffs last year? Perennial Norris consideration? Right now there’s some kinda disease ripping through that room and it’s hitting everyone. Seriously this sounds like when people said Sid was done.

      • Karlsson had serious surgery in the off-season. He does not look like the same guy so far this year. Here’s hoping things change for him and the team. At his best, he is worth the price of admission.
        And, George, keep the crusty comments coming – they are fun to read.

  12. I don’t think Galchenyuks value has ever been as high as many pundits seem to believe. Galchenyuk can handle the puck, Galchenyuk can pass and he can shoot, but his game falls completely apart (always has) in one major area. He CANNOT win puck battles. When he is on the boards, goes into the corners or goes behind the net, he is not coming out with the puck. This is why he doesn’t play center, IMO, and this is, again IMO, why the Canadians are so hard on him. He needs to learn to work harder in the tough areas of the ice, especially if he legitimately has hopes of playing Center in his NHL career. Instead, he just swings his stick around in a pathetic attempt to look like he is trying without ever accomplishing anything.

  13. Just some fun here but with all the pending UFA’s on Vegas and the following seasons UFA status….do they manage their cap and go after both Doughty AND Karlsson and give them their desired max contracts?
    Their young forwards have manageable contracts….

    Obviously Doughty and Karlsson would rather be on a cup contender but for fun…maybe they rather just get PAID and play in a fun city like Vegas.

    • Vegas is a playoff contender unlike ott… it’s a step up for Erik.

      • There ya go. And damned true.

  14. Ottawa can extend Duchene in summer. News at 11:00

  15. Great news for Ottawa! Bobby ryan signed for long term at 7.5 million lol

    • ottawa gets into 11th spot loses draft pick

      • With the way things are going, quite probably. And it wouldn’t surprise me to See Edmonton win the lottery and get their umpteenth 1st overall

  16. my guess is Ottawa rides it out the next 4 games and if they don’t turn it around Boucher gets his walking papers and Crawford steps in. The big game will be vs. Montreal @ home if they don’t compete then it becomes obvious that they have tuned out the coach.

    For me the turning point was the Turris trade, he was a popular player both at the rink and in the community. Dorion overpaid for a player of similar skill. I have a hard time believing Turris would not have re-signed for the same deal he got in Nashville.

    I totally agree that Karlsson misses Methot and he is not 100% right after his surgery. My gut feeling is that he gets moved in the off season . The guy is still in a league of his own talent wise.

  17. Great discussion and breakdown as per usual guys
    Much appreciated

  18. Someone take TOES please! anybody???? bag o pucks??? please???!!!

  19. Trade Karlsson. Sens can only stay competitive with a cheap, well rounder roster.

    Send him to Toronto for prospects Nikita Soshnikov and Andrew Neilson plus Connor Brown and Gardiner.

  20. ”I expect Bergervin (or his replacement?) will peddle the winger next summer in hopes his value might improve by then.” – I hope his replacement , just order Julien to Put him down the middle with Drouin at Wing and Arthuri flanking the other side. Why do we see this and NONE of the Habs management ?