NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2017

by | Dec 29, 2017 | Rumors | 63 comments

Updates on Kris Letang, Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Max Pacioretty plus the latest Senators speculation in your NHL rumor mill.


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s Thursday appearance on Edmonton’s 630 CHED discussing the recent trade chatter regarding Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang. Friedman agrees with Sportsnet colleague Nick Kypreos that the Pens may have floated Letang’s name in the trade waters to see what other clubs are willing to do. While praising Letang’s abilities, Friedman noted his long injury history plus his contract that runs through 2021-22 with an annual average value of $7.25 million. He believes the Pens are looking at acquiring forwards.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien notes Letang’s previous health issues and his current on-ice struggles means the Penguins would be “selling low,” doubting they’ll get anything close to equal value in return. That won’t help them in their quest to win a third consecutive Stanley Cup championship. “Even a Letang for picks and prospects situation is very, very troubling,” said O’Brien.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford isn’t afraid to make significant moves well before the trade deadline, so I don’t doubt speculation he may have been gauging Letang’s value in the trade market. But as O’Brien points out, it won’t be easy to get a decent return for him right now. The fact he’s currently on injured reserve retroactive to Dec. 24 will only heighten those health concerns. Trading Letang at midseason isn’t impossible but getting a return that boosts the Pens’ Cup hopes won’t be easy. 


THE ATHLETIC: Craig Custance reports Arizona Coyotes GM John Chayka insists there no chance he’ll trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who’s eligible in 2019 to become an unrestricted free agent. While Chayka and the Coyotes hope to re-sign Ekman-Larsson, his agent hints his client will want to see results that things are going in the right direction. While the Coyotes can afford to re-sign the blueliner, Custance feels management’s vision for the future, arena issues and the ability to win the Cup are boxes Ekman-Larsson still needs checked in Arizona.

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Elliotte Friedman telling Toronto’s Sportsnet 590 he believes the Maple Leafs are waiting for the right piece for their blueline to emerge. He noted the rumors linking the Leafs earlier this season to Ekman-Larsson as people wonder if he’ll become available. However, Friedman doubts the Coyotes want to trade him, suggesting they’ll do everything they can to re-sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The summer of 2018 could determine Ekman-Larsson’s future. The Coyotes can open contract discussions on July 1, but if those talks stall or he decides to test the market in 2019, Chayka could have little choice but to shop him. If so, expect the Leafs to be among the suitors for his services. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites insider Darren Dreger discussing the trade status of Montreal Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty with Montreal’s TSN 690. While agreeing with NBC Sports analyst Pierre McGuire that Pacioretty remains a very valued commodity in the NHL trade market and could fetch the Canadiens a solid return, Dreger said the Habs continue to insist they’re not shopping the left winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs captain is eligible for UFA status in 2019 and carries an affordable $4.5 million annual cap hit. Despite Pacioretty’s offensive struggles this season, he’s a five-time 30-goal scorer. That makes him very attractive for clubs seeking scoring punch. I don’t believe the Canadiens will trade Pacioretty this season, but it could become a possibility next summer. Much will depend upon whether Marc Bergevin remains the GM after this season and whether Pacioretty believes his long-term future is in Montreal. 


OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports the word in NHL circles is Ottawa Senators GM Pierre Dorion isn’t ready to sell off assets yet, but he’s willing to discuss every player except captain Erik Karlsson and winger Mark Stone. The most popular trade candidates could be “winger Mike Hoffman, centres Derick Brassard and Jean-Gabriel Pageau and defenceman Cody Ceci.”  It’s believed several clubs have interest in Hoffman, with the St. Louis Blues considered the frontrunner. Dorion doesn’t want a total rebuild but if they make changes they’ll seek younger players

THE ATHLETIC: James Gordon calls upon Dorion to avoid a “panic teardown”. With the Senators struggling to score, he’s against the idea of trading Hoffman. Gordon instead suggests shopping Ceci and forward Zack Smith and backfill with youth from within their system. He feels moving Ceci could help the Sens recoup some of the young assets they gave up in the Matt Duchene deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Senators will be sellers in the weeks leading up to the Feb. 26 trade deadline. I don’t see them doing a complete roster overhaul, but I expect they’ll move one or two veterans if they can get a couple of younger NHL-ready players in return. Hoffman could certainly fetch one of them, but as Gordon suggests, moving him weakens an already anemic offense. Despite Ceci’s struggles this season, he could still prove enticing for clubs seeking a promising young defenseman. 



  1. Brassard steps up in the playoffs and could fetch a bit in return if a few teams are in on him.
    If Kreider is out long term a Brassard return is an option, Pens, Hawks etc

    • There’s no way Brassard goes back to Rangers

  2. Must be nice when a down season has you tied for 9th in D scoring, 3 points out of 2nd.

    What a pile of BS what ails Letang is Pit’s inability to score, their 2.82 GF/GP has them sitting 17th. A far cry from last seasons leading 3.39, in 2015-16 they were 3rd at 2.94.

    • He is also a turnover machine right now and far from the dominant d man he has been recently. I disagree with the Letang haters on here as his potential to return to the top 10 d man in the league status beats out any likely return for him right now… but exploring the market for him isn’t terrible either. If GMJR got a return that matched Letangs potential and not his current down period then it might be worth it to get some cap cleared and upgrade depth.

      in other news Murray hurt again. sub par play and injury prone… pens didn’t really have a choice with Murray over MAF due to expansion but Murray is starting to look like a product of playing behind a winning team as opposed to a goalie that leads a team to winning.

      • Agreed for the most part, he’s not turning the puck over anymore than normal really.

        As mentioned the other day I also feel part of Murray’s struggles are mental. The loss of MAF leaves to safety net.

      • The other weird thing with no MAF… they both were injury prone but rarely at the same time… pens always had another legit starter behind them. MAF out with a concussion? no problem here is Murray… Murray out with a strained groin… here comes MAF. Now without this backup pens are getting an idea about how fragile Murray is…

      • GMJR as you put it rarely makes a bad move which is another reason for penguins being an elite team for so long trust me from someone who’s true to the copper and blue

      • I assume Rutherford will pull another rabbit out of his hat. I’m not going to slag him, tried that at point of hiring & had to eat a ton of humble pie. Not my strong suit but when your as opinionated as I am you have to suck up your mistakes as well. Ha-ha!

      • As I said letangs trade value is very low, the guy is hurt all 5he time makes 7million and forgot how to play defense. I think Pitt will have to hold salary or give picks to get rid of that contract

      • 3 years ago the fan base was calling for Letangs head just like now. So much so that Mario himself defended him in the media. He’s always been prone to turnovers it’s blows my mind that people are so obsessed with that right now. When you play at the level of creativity that he does turnovers are just an unfortunate side effect. Fans are always looking for a scape goat and all the big 3 Pens have been it in the past it’s just Letangs turn again. And the notion that the Pens would have to retain salary or give up picks is ridiculous. They don’t have to trade him and won’t unless it improves the team. It’s not a fire sale situation. If they are going to lose the trade they have zero reason to make it. Letang is still popular with his teammates and still plays well enough. This is not a Dion Phaneuf situation at all.

      • Eye roll.

      • 🤭🤫

      • What was I thinking having a different opinion than chris? He’s always right about EVERYTHING. Why bother thinking for myself at all? Hang in there buddy some day someone that matters is going to recognize your brilliance and hire you to run their team. Maybe Mario is waiting for Rutherford to retire before he hands you the reigns?

      • That wasn’t directed at you deeee. Maybe get over yo self a bit?

  3. Making radical changes mid season is fraught with peril. Moving out Turris & replacing him with Duchene has back fired totally. Not sure who’s fully responsible for this change, Melnyk apparently refusing to pay Turris forcing Dorion to fins a replacement & seriously overpaying to gain 1 year before the same problem appears with Duchene or did Dorion make this decission on his own?

    If he did he deserves to be fired. As much as many of us would like to see Melnyk fired ownership gets to do what ownership wants to do.

    If Melnyk wants to know why fans don’t want to come watch Ott play all he need do is look in the mirror, his interference in player personal decisions & coaching choices is the biggest reason.

    Again trading Hoffman or Ceci is not the solution, they should be aprt of the existing core. Moving at least 2 of Brassard, Duchene & Karlsson this summer should be at the top of the list as I find it unlikely any will choose to resign in Ottawa. Moving Brassard before this years trade deadline if the right trade can be found makes sense.

    • That’s part of the reason if I’m Vegas I don’t do anything to significant like trading for Letang. I certainly look to add but nothing that extreme.

      • Exactly, if you’re McPhee, you only make moves (being an Expansion Era team), to build for the future and somewhat present. I.E. prospects, very young talented roster players and draft picks. Here is where you take advantage of the teams under cap restraints going into the playoffs who are seriously looking to beef up for a legit push for the cup. Or you take on some bad salaries, but in return receive the returns mentioned above. The VGK’s have roughly $8M in available cap space, so the following trade scenario would likely never happen, but is merely an example of maybe taking on some salary but getting a return that helps them in the future!

        To TML: Theodore
        To VGK: JvR

        That example is more of a present need for Vegas, but with them in the Playoffs hunt, they’ll need some scoring touch and a big body. You might see a team with more confidence, when the van Reimsdyk brothers are united. Plus, after this year, Grabovski’s cap hit is off the books for Vegas and JvR can easily be re-signed.

        Toronto gets a young reliable defensive dman in Theodore and a step in the right direction in better defense.

      • an pending UFA to a team with already too many of them… for their best potential d man? umm…. that’s like the opposite of how you started your post.

      • by that logic striker any team winning and playing well shouldn’t try to upgrade the team with mid season or deadline deals? Trade deadline day would be awful boring in Strikerland.

      • Vgs isn’t trading Theodore never mind for a 1 dimensional Pending UFA.

      • Rarely do we see studs traded at the trade deadline, it’s almost exclusively pending UFA’s or players on low salaries with maybe 1 more year on there contracts after the current season.

        Letang is a stud offensive Dman, a huge minute muncher. These contracts rarely move in season & if they do, see Phaneuf the other team is taking back significant salary. Tor took back 11.4 on Phaneuf in the 1st year of that trade.

        There are always a ton of deadline deals, what was the last major 1? The only major trade I can think of at the moment in season over the last 3 years was Johansen for Jones.

      • Chrisms. I don’t get how you spin these comments the way you do, you read almost the exact opposite of what I’m saying. Weird.

      • Did you two not read? Or was it merely reading what you wanted to read? I said:

        “The VGK’s have roughly $8M in available cap space, so the following trade scenario would likely never happen”

        Basically, it was to get the ball rolling on maybe other spitballing on trades that potentially/probably will happen with the VGK!

      • I guess I don’t see the logic in “this rarely happens so it shouldn’t happen” the reason you don’t see stud players traded mid season or at deadline is the situation where they become available is rare. Reason being is that the team getting the best player rarely loses the deal. but if the confluence of circumstances opens up a top grade player (or in letangs case, a hope to return to top grade) why should a team hesitate? to not rock the boat? that’s what trades are meant to do! Letang returns to top form in a few weeks and looks like a star again what would the gm’s of those teams who didn’t offer to get him be thinking? I think “Oops” might sum it up.

        and I calls them as I sees them… maybe you need to more clear in your posts? 😉

      • Sorry LeafsA… I guess that line got lost within the rest of the conflicting post. my bad

      • Leafsadvocate, your correct that deal won’t happen because it doesn’t help Vegas, just like James Neal to the Leafs for Mitch Marner, the leafs get a true sniper plays a tough game and give Toronto a chance to go for the elusive cup. Vegas get a young player under team control to build the future.

      • Chrisms.

        I agree with that train of thought. Should a player become available regardless of quality teams should at least explore the option if it makes them a better team & the cost isn’t prohibitive.

        I don’t like Letang as fit in Vegas. Doesn’t tie in well for me short or long term.

        He does meet a serious need for Buf, Det & Mon though. His injury issues are also a concern. I’m not paying top dollar but would still pay a fair cost, should he go down long term at least his contract is insured.

      • fair enough… I disagree with vegas… getting a top tier player for a new expansion team would be a coup. that’s of course if they feel letang is still a top tier player. since he’s not a rental I would think he would fit their short AND long term plans. This would apply to any other star to potential star player in the league… if the cost was not prohibitive and the individual was signed past this season then I cant see why vegas would not make the move to improve their team.

  4. Lot of talk about team chemistry and how the players can play together, give them a chance to gel together. Meanwhile in Vegas their saying “what you talking about Willis”

  5. Habs proposals:

    A. Galchenyuk to Pittsburgh for K. Letang and 1st 2018

    M. Pacioretty and J. De la Rose to Carolina for J. Gauthier ,N. Roy and 1st rd pick 2018

    T. Plekanec retained at 50% for a 1st rd pick in 2018 to a contender


    • I don’t see MTL going for Letang especially with their play of late and falling way out of a playoff spot, lots of hockey left but I’d be shocked if they made it. If anything they move out Pacioretty or other vets for young assets and picks. I can’t see them giving up on Galchenyuk just yet but we are dealing with Bergevin so anythings possible!

      I don’t see Pacioretty and De La Rose getting a 1st. I’d change that to a 2nd.

      I especially don’t see a very slow and past his prime Plakanec getting anywhere near a 1st. Maybe a 3rd, mid level prospect with some salary retained?

    • you mean Gally and 2018 1st for letang? I had to assume that was a typo as Gally’s value is taken an even worse dive than letangs.

    • nearly 40 million on defense and a goalie will cripple MTL. Their problem really is scoring consistently. They lack center depth. They do not have a #1C nor #2C. Trading Gally for Letang will not help that. With Price’s injury history and adding Letang to that recipe WILL spell disaster.

    • Galchenyuk isn’t work Letang AND a 1st. If Montreal is prying Letang out of Pittsburgh, I would think it would cost Montreal this:

      To MON: Letang
      To PIT: Galchenyuk + Mete + Scherbak/Juulsen

      Despite Letang’s history of health, he is still considered one of the League’s top elite dmen. Galchenyuk is another Yakupov, a huge disappointement, and Mete shows huge promise and potential, but as of right now, he’s still merely a 4th round prospect (100th overall).

      • Lol maybe the dumbest proposal yet leafs! Letang is not getting very much in a trade always hurt, 7million and declining pay

      • Paches is not trade for anyring less than a 1st +. Pleks should be trade at the deadline to a contender for a conditional 1st,something like a 3rd if the team makes the playoffs that becomes a 2nd if the team wins a round and a first if the team makes it to the conference finals or cup finals. 50% Salary retained of course. Pleks maybe slow and his offence has definitely slipped off a cliff bit he is still good at face-offs and defense, things needed to win the up. JDLR should be traded for whatever they can get because he is waiver eligible and someone will definitely grab him off waivers. If healthy, Montoya should be dealt as well.

        Bergivin, except for Pleks, Montoya, and JDLR should hold off on trades until after Tavares signs. MB should not be fired until Tavares signs. Once he is off the table and MB didn’t get him, then all option, in terms of trades etc are on the table. Montreal’s depth in quality wingers, goaltending,and cash or the assets available to tempt Taverares. Honestly, that is probably not enough.

        Letang is a horrible option for Mtl. We have two RD in Petry and Weber. Habs need/want a LD which is why neither Mete or Juulsen are being traded in 2018.

      • Troll eye roll!

      • 🤫

    • i would say yes, but only if you trade Petry anywhere else too

  6. I would not be interested in gally. If letang would be traded they would need a righty dman back. Cuz all ud have on the right side is schultz and ruhwedle.

    • This right handed left handed D issue is overrated. Until Babcock started this pattern we never discussed such issues. I get the advantage but just not a huge issue for me.

      Look at NHL D’s. According to Capfriendly looking at top 6’s. Anh has 2 RHD, Bos when everyone is healthy 2 LHD, Buf 2 RHD, Cal 2 LHD, Dal 2 LHD, Edm 2 RHD, Flo 2 LHD, NJ 2 RHD, etc.

  7. One thing we all should remember is that Marc Bergevin had said something to the effect that he was not shopping PK Subban and also he was not going to trade Sergachev. The top NHL insiders can’t get inside the loop within the Habs organization. Every “big” trade happened out of nowhere. There was smoke with the PK trade but there was no destinations mentioned and also it was shut down profusely by Bergevin et al. Pacioretty could be traded today. No one knows what the Habs will do… except wallow in mediocrity until they fill the hole down the middle of the ice.

  8. MTL Cap next year (Assuming $80M) with Price/Weber contracts is still quite amazing to make big changes.

    This includes all current 6 D-Man signed to multi-year contracts (and maybe Noah Juulsen for 2018)

    Goalies = 11.6 million (assuming Montoya)
    Defense = 21.9 million
    Forwards = 25.2 million
    Cap space = 21.3 million

    Now that’s with 8 forwards signed through next season.

    Tomas Plekanec is in the final season and comes off the books. Phillip Danault, Daniel Carr, Michael McCarron, and Jacob de la Rose are RFA. None are big contracts, even if all 4 are resigned, and some depth roles being filled by the likes of Nicolas Deslauriers and Nikita Scherbak next season.

    Potential opportunity to make big changes to this team with a lot of cap space available…what will Bergy do?

    • I don’t think it will be Bergy’s call as they will have a new GM IMO.
      First thing they need is a strategy. What is Bergy’s? Tough to start a rebuild when you have Price and Weber, (Pacioretty will likely bolt) as by the time you are ready to compete again they will be starting the back nine of their prime so they also don’t want to waste those years. Not impossible to do quicker but after those 2 key assets what do they have? Galley and Drouin? Still both unknowns regarding whether they will be top players. This rebuild will take 5 years when you consider their prospect cupboard is nearly bare and lack of depth. The one thing MTL has is cap space, but if you have to overpay for UFA’s it will be gone quickly and can’t fill every hole.
      Whether it is Bergy or somebody else as the GM, it won’t be easy.

    • Focus on asset management.
      Decide if they are rebuilding or making a cup run.
      Maybe fill balance of roster with players others teams do not want and only have a year or 2 left on their contract and acquire additional picks.
      Has to develop their farm team forwards for speed and scoring.
      Work vigorously to solidify the top 2 center positions thru the draft then look at UFA/trade options.
      Look to move both Weber AND Patches. Only if the package of picks (more important) and prospect is worth it.

      Weber is fantastic but to me their D is slow footed and built that way. They have no-one on the backend that can truly rush the puck and still log over 20mins a game. Mete in time will but not at the moment.

      Patches is slumping not because he is not good but the situation around him and I believe has better asset value than JVR in TOR. He is also signed for und er 5mil for one more year so best to get a future 1st and assets now before they are forced to sign a 30yr old to a long term deal bc they have no other options.

      • Agree that rebuild is the way to go for MTL. Just saying tough to do. Price passed on his opportunity to become a UFA, and I would bet serious $$ that there was a conversation regarding direction of the team. Pretty sure he wasn’t told there would be going through a rebuild or he would have tested the market.
        MTL would likely have to trade him and his crazy contract as well.

      • Ray, just to be clear gally = Gallagher, Chuky = Galchenyuk. Chucky has the talent for a top 6, but maybe not in Mtl. Drouin is a top 6, but not at center this year or, probably, ever. The question for him is could he be a legit top 3 winger? Gally is exactly what you see. Tireless worker, pest, and enough skill to hang on any line but not ideal for a top 6. Still the kind of guy you want on your team, and like I said, can hang anywhere in the lineup.

        If the Habs can make improvements at center they could become a very solid team very quickly. They do have solid talent on both wings but really need a center or two to bring it together. Nobody should panic about MBs job until at least Chucky starts several games at center and Drouin at wing. Then he is showing some desperation. Ironically, that just might help….

  9. how about AA for CC lol

  10. does this work for both teams??

    to BUFF: Letang/Hagelin and pick

    to PITT: Kane/Bogosian and pick

    • Jason Botterill would have to be high on mushrooms to make that deal … lmao

      • Why ed van turnover lol.. We are taking Kane yes talented but has consistency and other issues. He probably won’t resign in pittsburgh or buffalo for that matter. bogoasian who has done much. Buffalo gets a talented d-man under control for 4 years he will return to form and eill help riley and eichel. Hags Adds. Speed and is good in the locker room unlike Kane. Not sure what your picks are so

    • Not bad except bogo is problematic. Replace bogo with one of the younger d and you got potential

      • Chrisms I put Bogo to offset the lose of a Man but more align with the fact they are taking Hagelin. Also gives PITTS another right hand DMan. That is why I suggested it the way I did. With Hornqvist a UFA this season and Hags gone they can now sign Kane and have Kane, Kessel, Crosby and Malkin for years to come. With Letangs 7mill gone it gives them a ton of cap space to make other moves….. JR gets more options

        Housley gets a true Puck moving Man to help balance their top 4. So he now gets Risto w/ Scandella and Letang w/ Beaulieu (who can now focus on D while Letang plays off)
        Antipin and whoever on the bottom pair.
        to me a win win for both teams.

      • As long as it’s a 1st and 2nd going to Buffalo it might work but letang still isn’t worth that

      • Disagree Bigbadbruin, I think you are undervaluing Letang. He has had a bad start but it won’t last forever. You can’t ignore his previous production.
        Injuries, sure but that doesn’t mean that will continue.
        If Kane was signed for more term this works just fine, the way it is means BUF needs to add. But a good start to a deal.

  11. Letang and Kane’s value offset one another. Bogo and Hags salary offset each other.
    Buff needs another offensive Man for Housley and I cannot see them resigning Kane to a lucrative long term.
    Pitts is looking for scoring and riding Hags cap for Kane’s is a win on both cap and scoring. Also gives pitts 2 truly deadly lines with the top 4 of crosby, malkin, kessel and kane.

    I think 1sts and 2nds in this deal are too high to be swapped for either team. I was thinking 3rds and 4ths considering Letang and Kanes high value.

    • Don’t agree that Letang and Kane offset each other = Kane is a good winger but Letang is a top level defence man – big difference.
      If Letang is being shopped, I really hope the Leafs are in on it.

      • IF you dismiss the injury (prone) history and concussions then yes I would agree Letang is by far has much higher value… but you have to take it into account. Last season, this season and the fact he makes over 7 million a year. It is a risk v. reward. That is all I am saying. IMO when all factors are there…both sides benefit and do not give up much. Letang is also 30 not 25. If he was 25..I may differ in my opinion.

      • Letang hasn’t played a full season since 2010-11… has averaged about 50 games since. If he where a FA after this season, what team would give him a 4 year deal for 7.25m? And people think there’s a team that will give up assets for that same player? Smh

  12. Drouin is not a bad hockey player, but giving up Sergachev to get him looks ridiculously lopsided right now in Tampa’s favor. I like the concept of building a team out. Get a solid goalie, then a dynamite D, then round out your forwards around your core players. Bergevin took one small step toward more offence, but created a gaping black hole on the blue line. I’m shocked he has his job.

  13. Hopefully leafs advocate prediction is a reality !
    Thoughts ..
    Vegas will be a buyer ?!!?!
    JVR for Theodore

    Reunite JVR with his brother

    • Umm you won’t be reuniting jvr with his brother with a trade to Vegas. Trevor plays for the hurricanes. Vegas did possess his rights but I’m 99% sure he didn’t suit up for a single game with Vegas before being flipped to Carolina.

      • …and Trevor has been solid in CAR, thank you very much. He definitely stabilized the 3rd pair D. Or, really, I’d argue he’s been so good (with Hanifin) that it’s now the 2nd pair. On the other note, yes, feel free to send his brother down here….