NHL Rumor Mill – December 16, 2017

by | Dec 16, 2017 | Rumors | 36 comments

Updates on Erik Karlsson, Ryan O’Reilly, Evander Kane and the latest on the Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.


USA TODAY: Kevin Allen weighs in on the recent speculation over the future of Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson. Noting the blueliner’s recent comments that he’ll seek fair market value at the end of his current contract in 2019, Allen suggests it’s plausible he could receive a seven-year deal with an annual average value of $12 million.

Should the Sens opt to trade Karlsson if they decide they can’t afford him, Allen speculates the asking price could be “a package that includes a young defenseman, a young center, a first-round pick, a second-round pick and another prospect.” He doubts Karlsson would approve being dealt to a struggling club such as the Arizona Coyotes or Buffalo Sabres, suggesting his preference could be a big-market contender such as the New York Rangers or Toronto Maple Leafs.

Allen’s best guess is Karlsson gets traded next season and then goes on to test the UFA market, where he expects the Detroit Red Wings could make him “a monstrous offer.” He also doesn’t rule out the Rangers, Leafs, Boston Bruins or New Jersey Devils as possible free-agent destinations.

NEW YORK POST: Brett Cyrgalis believes Karlsson presents a perfect opportunity for the New York Islanders to add a big-time defenseman with a right-handed shot. He notes Isles general manager Garth Snow has stockpiled two first-round and two second-round draft picks, plus he also has some highly regarded prospects, though rookie center Mathew Barzal is a non-starter in trade talks. Cyrgalis suggests recently demoted winger Joshua Ho-Sang could make a prime trade candidate. “So does something close to Halak, Ho-Sang, a first-rounder and a second-rounder get it done?”, wonders Cyrgalis.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Swap out Halak with a good young player or two and that package could prove tempting for the Senators. Of course, that depends on whether the Islanders are on Karlsson’s ten-team no-trade list. As I’ve frequently said this week, I don’t see Karlsson getting traded this season. Sens GM Pierre Dorion said they want to try to re-sign their captain this summer and the earliest they can open contract talks is July 1. If talks fall through, perhaps Karlsson’s gets traded by mid-July.

Karlsson be a great fit on the Leafs and the two clubs did do a deal last year involving Dion Phaneuf, but I can’t see Dorion sending his superstar to Toronto. The Rangers could certainly be an option with Rick Nash’s $7.8 million cap hit coming off their books next summer, but they’ve also got over $51 million tied up in just 11 players. Giving up assets to take on a player who could seek $12 million annually would still take a huge bite out of their cap space.


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites TSN insider Darren Dreger’s Friday appearance on Buffalo’s WGR 550 where he talked about the trade value of Sabres left wing Evander Kane.  “The expected rate of return for Evander Kane is significant. I believe that, in a perfect world, Jason Botterill would get a prospect, a first-round pick, and perhaps an additional draft pick on top of that,” said Dreger, adding Kane is “right at the top of the list” of players Sabres GM Jason Botterill is getting calls about from rival clubs. Dreger also said that interest is limited (citing it as a timing issue) and there’s no moves imminent.

WGR 550: Dreger also said a few teams are inquiring into the availability of Sabres center Ryan O’Reilly. However, there’s no indication the Sabres are shopping him or that a deal is close.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Botterill told The Buffalo News’ John Vogl he’s still having discussions with rival clubs as he seeks to improve his club but there’s nothing close to happening right now. While I don’t doubt some teams are kicking tires on O’Reilly, I think Botterill intends to keep him unless the center asks to be dealt. While O’Reilly lacks no-trade protection, his $7.5 million annual average value through 2022-23 is almost as good as a no-trade clause during the season. Kane remains the Sabre most likely to be moved, but I anticipate that happens closer to the trade deadline as Botterill attempts to drive up the asking price. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites insider Bob McKenzie’s recent appearance on TSN 1050 discussing possible moves by the Detroit Red Wings. Giving how soft the Atlantic Division is this season, he doesn’t think Wings GM Ken Holland is in full sell mode just yet.

If Holland does stage a fire sale, McKenzie expects promising Dylan Larkin won’t be available and thinks the Wings GM would also be reluctant to part with Anthony Mantha or Andreas Athanasiou. He believes the Wings would have to take back some salary if they attempt to move overpaid veterans such as Justin Abdelkader or Darren Helm.

McKenzie speculates there could be some interest in 40-50 point players such as Tomas Tatar or Gustav Nyquist. However, he feels the Wings’ plumb trade asset heading toward the deadline is pending UFA defenseman Mike Green, suggesting he could be a useful rental player to teams such as the Toronto Maple Leafs. 

Nichols also cites insider Elliotte Friedman’s appearance on Calgary Sportsnet 960 suggesting a trade of Wings backup goalie Petr Mrazek to the Edmonton Oilers may have been closer than originally thought. “I heard they were looking at Mrazek last week, and somebody told me after we mentioned it that it was a lot closer than I kind of thought. I think they’d worked out that Detroit was going to keep about half of the money, and they were trying to figure out the draft pick. Nick told me he heard that he played a couple of games and Edmonton saw it and didn’t like him.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With 31 points, the Wings are six points out of a wild-card spot in the Eastern Conference but only three points out of third (and an automatic playoff berth) in the Atlantic Division. If they stay close to that berth over the next month or so, Holland could hold off on selling if he thinks there’s a good chance they can reach the postseason. If they fall further behind, then the fire sale begins and Green will almost certainly be playing elsewhere by the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

Retaining salary is also no guarantee of moving overpaid veterans such as Abdelkader, Mrazek and Helm. Just because you can get them cheaper doesn’t mean there’s a market for their services if they’re still not playing well. 



  1. Why would Sens want Halak when they already have 2 netminders?
    Why would Sens want a recently demoted winger who rates himself via his jersey number to Mario?
    The picks could be tempting, but they need to be top 10 of each round, which is unlikely.
    Try again New York Post!

  2. If the Sabres would eat half of his salary for the life of the contract, I’d be willing to send a boatload of stuff for ROR if I were GMJR. O’Reilly at $3.75 M AAV slotted in behind Sid and Geno? I’d offer Sheary, two prospects, two firsts and two other picks.

    Also, has a player ever been more nakedly promoted to enhance his trade value than Dominik Simon (aka Sid’s new winger)?

    Does any team have more bad contracts than Detroit? Helm and Mrazek are bad, but Danny DeKeyser makes almost $5 million a year. He’s a #6 on his best day. He should be a on $650,000 deal. Maybe a two way. Instead, he makes almost $5 M AAV.

    If the Isles are granted their new building in Belmont and trade for Karlsson? It would change the entire trajectory of their franchise. People would legitimately take them seriously for the first time in decades.

    …after they get a real goalie, of course.

    • I am sure glad you aren’t Jim Rutherford … two firsts, two prospects, two other picks and Sheary? for Ryan O’Reilly??? go back to bed, you are dreaming …

      • OK, Ed…since you don’t like the idea of paying market value to get the best (possibly) available player to fill the third line center role…what move(s) would you make to help the Pens repeat as champions if you were GMJR?

      • Mg. That’s market value like duschene was worth an equal or better player and 3 prospects and some picks.

      • ROR is a much better player than Duchene and the value of another team giving you/losing $3.75 M of their cap space is huge.

        They need a spot for Sprong and can either spend those picks and prospects renting 3rd line centers not nearly as good as ROR for the next five years or get an elite 3rd line center in his prime at a bargain cap hit, instead.

        Lotto protected picks, of course.

    • Helm makes 3.85, Mrazek 4 & an RFA this summer, he won’t be qualified. These deals aren’t back breakers. Dekeyser may not be a 5 mil per Dman but he’s certainly not a #6 either, he’s a solid top 4 defensive Dman that logs hard minutes. Det signing Dekeyser for 5 mil per was out of desperation to some extent.

    • Mg that seems like a lot to offer for a pending free agent who is seeking a contract over 6-7 million a year…
      Evander Kane is a trouble maker and doesn’t play hard all the time. I would offer Conner Sheary and maybe one prospect.

  3. dear george.. how are you? I am groggy this morning as I took da quill last night to get some good sleep. I hate the CHL NHL agreement. Hope you are well. Chris

    • What’s with your personal love in with George chrisms? It’s bordering on creepy.

      • Dear Steven. . Hope you are well. Chris

      • Dear Steven. . Hope you are well. Chris

      • Durnit. I did too well of a job of censoring myself… Lyle doesn’t even have to erase my comments to Steven. Oh well.

      • It is creepy Steven and wondering how many other accounts chris has makes it even creepier?

  4. I don’t see Karlsson on Rangers as they just invested in Shattenkirk. Who would QB the PP? Can either move to left side? Money wise, I don’t see a problem since in 2 years we might be looking to get rid of Lundquist… depending on Shesterkin being for real. Staal should be gone, and cap should be higher. I think giving up too much for him though would be a mistake. I’d rather see them pursue a deal for Trouba. Need some size and grit on backend. Wouldn’t cost as much. With DeAngelo and Pionk in system and Shatty, we are pretty deep with right handed puck moving D, although I would think DeAngelo would be part of deal.

    • Deangelo is hot garbage. But I still don’t see Karlsson in NY either way. Shattenkirk’s deal aside. They still have to deal with Mcdonagh… and other than that, when’s the last time NY handed out a deal for more than 4-5 years? (Lundqvist.)I can’t imagine they’ll offer up 7 for Karlsson.

      I agree on Trouba. But eventually they’d have to move Mcdonagh or Skjei to make it work.

      • Totally agree. Rangers are a sum of all parts. Although I don’t see Karlsson getting 12m, he’ll get enough that will keep Gorton away. Besides, we’ll just create holes somewhere else. I think we’d be smart to look into moving McD in offseason. He’ll be 30 when new contract starts and I can’t see us shelling out a long term deal. I’d rather get Skjei locked up now.

      • Not ready to give up on DeAngelo. Just turned 22 and you can see talent is there. Aside from the baggage, he’ll be an NHLer eventually. Point being I don’t see a need for Karlsson without screwing up roster and cap

      • To me , Deangelo has MDZ part deux written all over him. A troubled kid that contribute offensively, and terrible defensively. There’s a reason why this former first rounder is on his 3rd team while still on his elc. That’s just not something that happens to guys with a promising NHL future.

        NY has had some luck with reclamation / project players. Stralman , Brassard, Zherdev, Grabner…. but I don’t think Deangelo fits in there.

  5. If the Senators view themselves as a team in a rebuild than it should irrelevant to them who they trade him to. If Toronto is the team with the best deal to land Karlsson then do it. Not trading a player to a division rival is an antiquated notion in my opinion. I am not suggesting you think that way Lyle. If Toronto is not on his ten team trade list then he isn’t watching what teams present him the best option to win in the near future. Toronto is one of those options. On another note if Toronto is on his list let’s go all in and see if Stone can be part of the deal! Would love to see him with the Leafs!

    • They dont. If you beleive whatcthey say
      They wantcto re tool not rebuild. Maybe movingvkarlsson will forcd a rebuild but they dobt view themselves rebuilding yet in my opinion.

  6. Wings’ Nyquist should be moved and I don’t believe Tatar can be moved

    Pending UFA defenseman Mike Green will be the prize at this year’s trade deadline. Wings need to hit a home run

    Only way to Rangers for Karlsson is if Shattenkirk comes back + + and then again why $11m + for a single player

  7. Karlsson to devils

    Severson zacha quenville 2 firsts. U seen it here first

    • pretty decent offer , Sens may push for McLeod over Zacha or Quenville

  8. The concern with Karlsson for any team, including the Sens, is his health – still not sure he has recovered from the off-season surgery and that uncertainty would certainly be a factor in negotiating a long term contract at big dollars.
    Karlsson in my view is the closest current player to Bobby Orr; let’s hope the parallels don’t continue with his health.

  9. Karlsson will stay with the Sens. I get a sense that the local media is really piling on during this losing skid. Karlsson is asked about impending free agency – he says he won’t take less than what he is worth… Melnyk is asked if he’d move the team on the eve of their celebration weekend? He says he would if the franchise becomes a disaster. Has nothing to do with the on ice product – only that if he gets even less than the 15K fans he’s averaging a game this year and he starts hemmoraging money then he’d have to look at moving it. Media is asking tough questions and they are getting answers that fans don’t like… Sens fans need to suck it up and support their team. They will end up subsidizing a new arena one way or another – either through taxes or by showing up and selling out playoff games – at least if they pay $$$ for the playoff games they get to see the team play…

    • So Fans should just suck it up and support the team, just because they play in Ottawa? It’s up to the ownership and management to have the fans wanting to come to the games.

  10. Karlsson and McDavid would be a dynamite franchise player duo.

    To Edmonton: Erik Karlsson (D), Mark Stone (R) [sign and trade], Colin White (C), J-G Pageau (C/W)

    To Ottawa: Leon Draisaitl (C), Adam Larsson (D), Kailer Yamamoto (R)

    In this case, maybe Stone agrees to a bit less money so he can play with McDavid? Edmonton fills (barring injuries) its glaring need for an elite puck moving defenceman and Ottawa fills its glaring need for a real elite number one centre. Edmonton and Ottawa trade one huge contract for another. Oilers get some hopeful depth from Pageau and (near) futures in White.

    Now I’ll prepare for the responses that Draisaitl is worth far more than Karlsson with his injuries. But c’mon, a hockey trade like this would rock the league!

    • that’s an intriquing notion. It just might work but Edmonton would have to add more in another player such as Maroon or Lucic and a first round pick in my opinion.

      • I think the injury risks attached to Karlsson and Stone are intangibles that lower their value just a bit. If I were Edmonton’s GM, I would look at my left wing depth and realize that getting rid of one of those two players would elevate Jujhar Khaira to the third line and place someone like Drake Caggiula to the second line left spot. The potential Yamamoto possesses to adequately replace Stone’s production and Larsson’s underrated ability to stabilize things on the back end (a good partner for Thomas Chabot!) make this deal, in my opinion, a fair one. No need to mention what Draisaitl brings.

        Having said that, if Edmonton could swing a trade for an up and coming left winger, then obviously getting rid of Lucic’s contract would be nice.

    • take Stone out of the equation and it could work

    • That is a horrible trade for Ottawa. They give up the best player (Karlsson), an almost equal player in Stone to Draisaitl, a good 3rd line center plus a very good prospect (12th in last Future watch) for Draisaitl, a second pairing defenseman and a not as good prospect? Removing Stone makes it close, but Edmonton would still need to add more to make that work assuming Karlsson signs an extension.

      Stone in, Ottawa never makes that move. Alternatively, deal without Stone doesn’t go through for Edmonton without Karlsson extension with Draisaitl already signed long term.

  11. I agree with what Bob McKenzie said the other night and that they should wait till the summer to trade Karlsson, but even then I still think it’s in Melnyk’s best interest to try and retain Karlsson because their more negative repercussion’s that could follow from this. By publicly stating that he is going to pinch pennies on player salaries, the Sens will have a hard time convincing future UFA’s to come to Ottawa with that kind of attitude. Furthermore, they’ve spent a considerable amount of time rebuilding and I would like to think Brown has what it takes to become one of their next Top 6 centers. If Karlsson were to stay they could be a competitive team again in a couple years.

    As for Halak going to Ottawa, that doesn’t make a lot of sense unless they intend to flip him immediately to another team or have a trade in place for either Anderson or Condon (which I don’t see them doing).

    The Mrazek deal on the other hand is interesting. Looking at his and Brossoit’s numbers, I’d say he would be worth the risk as long as the Red Wing’s retain 50% of his salary. Their numbers are pretty much the same over a 10 game span and I would say Mrazek has slightly more upside. Since both goalies are also RFA’s at the end of the year, Edmonton doesn’t have to worry about them counting towards next years cap crunch.

  12. What would Karlsson cost for Boston
    I’m guessing not saying I would do it
    Carlo,Spooner,Vatrano,2 prospects like Synshyn,Zboril and a first.

    • Being a Bruins fan I have no interest in trading for Karlsson.

      Stay the course, I like what Sweeney is building.

  13. Man I wish Kenny Holland was my boss. He’d overpay me, lavish me with praise, and probably invite me over for a 2nd Christmas dinner…maybe even buy me a Tesla. It’d be so great.