NHL Rumor Mill – December 9, 2017

by | Dec 9, 2017 | Rumors | 44 comments

Latest on the Philadelphia Flyers, Florida Panthers, and Pittsburgh Penguins in your NHL rumor mill.


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Friday on Calgary’s Sportsnet 960 discussing Philadelphia Flyers winger Wayne Simmonds recently surfacing as a possible trade candidate. While noting how well-respected Simmonds is, he’s also playing hurt and Friedman thinks there’s a concern over how banged up he is. Friedman also thinks there’s some teams who believe the Flyers will do anything to avoid trading Simmonds. “So I don’t know how much I’m putting stock in what Philadelphia wants to do with Wayne Simmonds.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I think Flyers general manager Ron Hextall wants to re-sign Simmonds before he’s eligible in 2019 for unrestricted free agency. If he were to move Simmonds, however, I believe that happens next summer, not during this season.  I wouldn’t be surprised if he signs a contract extension with the Flyers next July. He loves being a Flyer and I believe they really want to keep him. 


SUN-SENTINEL.COM: In a recent mailbag segement, Matthew DeFranks was asked if the Florida Panthers will make a trade to replace sidelined starting goaltender Roberto Luongo. His short answer is backup James Reimer will fill in for Luongo and he’s doesn’t know if they’ll trade for anyone at all.

That being said, he feels they can either “do nothing, acquire a short-term stop gap solution or find a bigger-picture bridge between Luongo and youngster Samuel Montembeault.” Given the long-term contracts of Luongo and Reimer, if the Panthers do pursue a goalie it’ll likely be one on an expiring contract or one on a two-way deal.


SPECTOR’S NOTE: For now, it appears the Panthers will stick with Riemer and call-up Harri Sateri until Luongo returns sometime in January. If Reimer and Sateri struggle to carry the load, that could threaten the Panthers chances of staying in the playoff hunt. In that case, management could stage a serious search for help between the pipes.


POST-GAZETTE.COM: Jason Mackey makes the case for the Pittsburgh Penguins to reacquire 41-year-old center Matt Cullen, who signed last summer with the Minnesota Wild. Cullen’s seen limited ice time with the Wild and was a healthy scratch during their 3-2 win on Friday over the Anaheim Ducks.

Mackey feels the Penguins still haven’t addressed losing Cullen’s “incredible leadership” along with his “scoring punch from the bottom-six” and Tthe ability to move up and down the lineup.” He also noted Cullen carries a very affordable contract this season.

Two issues working against such a move, however, is the Wild could be reluctant to part with Cullen and the center and his family could prefer finishing this season in their home state of Minnesota. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Penguins fans would probably be thrilled to have Cullen back for one more season and he’d fit seamlessly back into the Pittsburgh roster. If Cullen starts seeing more time in the press box, perhaps he’d welcome returning to the Penguins. He lacks a no-trade clause and would probably cost no more than a fourth-round pick. 



  1. Every other trade option would have to fall through before I’d be happy about reacquiring Matt Cullen.

    Cullen is a 4C not a 3C and Sheahan is a better 4C than Cullen at this point.

    It was masked by some key plays (including on the winner by Hornqvist in Game 6), but Cullen was coasting on fumes during last spring’s run.

    Right now, he can’t make the Wild’s lineup and they are middling.

    Having said that, I don’t know who Jimmy can actually get. None of the as of now likely sellers seem to have a great fit for a third line center.


    Reimer is a good enough fill in for a team that wasn’t going to make the playoffs anyway.

    The Oilers are being almost criminally negligent in ignoring their backup goalie position.

    They should have signed a real backup in the summer. After failing to do that, they really should have claimed Calvin Pickard from the Avs (or Berra from the Ducks). After failing to do that, they should have traded for a backup.

    They didn’t do any of that and now their season rests on an unproven and (as of yet) unimpressive young goalie. And still they do nothing.

    • Bozak seems to be the most logical answer for Pitts.

      • The Leafs sit solidly in 2nd place in the Atlantic and are well-placed to land a good spot in the playoffs and, as long as they can avoid Tampa and Pittsburgh in the early rounds, can be a team that could go deep. Why would they upset their obvious chemistry by dealing either of their pending UFAs Bozak and VanRiemsdyk now. They are not apt to get anything back that they can plug immediately into those spots and even if they did, there;’s no guarantee everything will run smoothly in that instance. Just look at Duchene in Ottawa.

        I know, I know – no team likes to lose a UFA for nothing, but this isn’t a case of a non-playoff contender or even a quasi-bubble team biting the bullet by dealing their UFAs at the deadline to at least get futures.

        The other everyday UFAs, Moore and Komarov would bring minimal returns and besides, both are contributing to the bottom lines and what would they get back that could step in now and do the same job?

        I think Lamoriello just rides it out this season with what he’s got and trust to Babcock’s system to carry them as deep as possible.

      • I agree George. UFA’s are essentially playoff teams additions by no subtraction. Teams do get something if UFA’s can’t be resigned they gain valuable cap space & every playoff gate is huge revenue for NHL teams in the playoffs, especially in a market like Tor.

      • The way Bozak has been playing if we insert Gauthier or Miro Aaltonen we lose absolutely nothing and have the potential to gain much.

        Miro will be here sooner rather than later.

      • Bozak’s line has seen their role & icetime cut back by almost a min & a 1/2 per game from last year. Barely seeing much more icetime than the 4th line. Bozak sits 9th in TOI/GP at forward, JvR 10th.

        Neither of those kids are any where near ready to supplant Bozak at least not this season.

      • Careful Striker, that’s a classic example of a Leafs fan thinking that everything in their system is ready to step into an NHL job without a hitch. Many base that mistaken opinion on the performance of their AHL team. Yes, the Mar lies are doing well – but it’s still a monumental leap from that league to the show and, while the adrenaline would be flowing the first few games, it wouldn’t take long for the opposition would be quick to pinpoint their weaknesses – and then exploit them at every opportunity.

      • You don’t have to convince me George. Neither of those kids are ready & there is no Gary tee either even has an NHL future & if they do Gauthier appears to be a 4th line checking C & Aaltonen what? No room for him at the inn even after Bozak & JvR potentiality move on. Leivo, Shishnikov & Kapanen are all waiting patiently for their turns & those other 2 are way down in the pecking order of prospects.

      • IF IT is bOZAK they better get him before Columbus does….

      • especially since Bozak cored 2 goals 1 assist in the leafs 4-3 win over the Penguins…nice audition for bozak…

    • Some possible 3/4 C options for Pit at the trade deadline would be Richardson Arz, Ryan Car, Letestu Edm, Plekenec Mtl or Filppula Phi. Any should be had for a draft pick & a B grade prospect.

      Really very little available at C unless Pit wants to give up something more substantial. I don’t see Tor or other teams heading to the playoffs cutting their pending UFA’s when they have cup or playoff aspirations.

      • None of those are any improvement over Sheahan I would pass on any and all of them. Id rather play Guentzel at centre in a pinch.

      • Letestu, Plekenec & Filppula are all upgrades over Sheahan.

        Pit will add depth at the trade deadline but much will depend on who’s buying & who’s selling. These assets move at a premium & who ever pays the most will get them.

      • plec is too expensive and letestu wouldnt be bad but isnt good enough. pens will have to see who is out of contention by the deadline to improve center… they have zero internal options for center. pens should have one of rust/horny/hagssheary to trade… with rust/sheary probably returning the best asset… but only if pens see what they have in sprong or reese.

        man having a first round prospect in the pipeline would be nice… maybe pens can trade reaves for a third line center

      • Plekanec, I’ve always felt would the best fot for Pit. Get a guy like Sheehan in return. MTL would have to retain $ on deal.

      • Montreal would have to eat salary on Plekanec at the deadline to facilitate a trade, assuming Mon isn’t in the playoff race. I just try to look at teams I assume are missing the playoffs & which UFA’s they have they would potentially cut.

        Those are the only 1’s I can see a 3rd of the way thru the NHL’s reg season, we will have better clarity & several more sellers by the trade deadline.

      • Pitt could also look to reunite with Sutter from Vancouver. He’s a solid 3 c who has been there before.

      • Sutter cares a significant cap hit & term nor do I think Vancouver is interested in moving him. Paid Pit a pretty high price to get him. Hated that trade for Cancouver as well but he looks to be Vancouver’s #3 shut down C for several more years.

    • Great take on Cullen. Couldn’t agree more. Don’t chase a player out of nostalgia in order to address a position he can no longer add value to.

      Pens need a 3C and should mortgage the future, via picks and prospects to make it happen.

      What’s the price for J. Staal?

      • STRIKER… you mention PLEKanec he would be a good fit but Montreal will have to retain $$$’s

        i also say MARCHESSEAULT of VEGAS… he wants stability (he has been on 6 different teams)the cap is going up to at least $78 MILLION PROBABLY OVER $80 AS HIGH AS $82 THERE IS ROOM TO SIGN HIM TO A .NICE DEAL NEXT SEASON AND RE UP HORNQVIST

      • Nope on Suter he is more brittle than Letang or Matta…no thanks…

    • Have you seen jarry play MG..If Murray comes back sooner rather than later they have the best young goal-tending tandem in the league. They don’t need a back up for the remainder of the year..Jarry is good and in expensive….

  2. I’d welcome Dad back on the cheap if it happened. Take him over rowney. But as mike said it doesn’t address the need for 3 center who could temporarily play top six when needed.

    • I don’t know, I kind of like Rowney … besides him & Reaves & Horny, no other forwards on the team seem to know what a body check is.

      • Reaves has done great job of those checks… on his own teammates

      • Ed Vanimpe….i still love your kris leturnover reference brillant…

    • How about Ryan Spooner for a second or third rnd pick.

      • Spooner is too soff.

        Bonino’s contract is starting to look very reasonable.

  3. If you remember Cullen chose to sign with Minnesota after winning the cup. He went home. However, players want to play (and win) so stranger things have happened.

  4. I would take back Cullen I guess although if Riley starts putting up more goals like that snipe against the Iles the other night we might be good with his staying 3C and Rowney as a dependable defensive 4C or Rowney could move to wing if Cully comes back. Leadership is not the Penguins issue right now they have that in spades from their captains and Hornqvist and even Kessel. They also don’t need a goalie at this time. Jarrs is playing very well and should just stay an NHL player. As long as Murray’s quarterly injury doesn’t take too long to heal they will have as good a tandem as anyone.

  5. How’s that Subban Pickard situation looking now? As a pens fan I should root for McPhee to fail but it’s hard with that team. Overwhelmingly McPhee has made good decisions even when they looked odd on the surface. Was he going to go 30/30 on his picks? No but pretty close. Subban has been dominant. Gallant has been great. Should give hope to Seattle or Houston that they can get a solid starting team AND build a pipeline

    • Vegas is playing way better than I anticipated, significantly so. I would have retained Pickard to. Pickard had cleared waivers so sending him down as opposed to giving him away for nothing didn’t make sense to me.

      Really hoping Marchesseault gets resigned as Karlsson with him & Smith has been a solid 2nd line & after Neal & Perron are traded it would make a solid 1st line, also allowing for Tuch to move into a 2nd line role.

      I was at the Winnipeg game on Fri Nov 10th it was a great time. Building was rocking, Vegas won 5-2 with the Scheifele, Wheeler, Connor line getting eaten alive. A ton of Winnipeg fans in town for that game, very cool. Apparently a big group headed to Arz for Win’s next game on Sat the 11th. What an awesome road trip for those Jets fans.

      • we disagree about “nothing.” I do wonder why no one picked him up on waivers… seems like 31 gm’s know something others dont… if they held onto him they could have gotten maybe a nominally better return with the recent goalie injuries but really how much of a better return? doubt very much.

      • also dont rule out neal or perron getting resigned… vegas has cap space and money to throw around and if they are competitors they could be a destination city. nice place to live etc. vegas also has a buttload of assets in picks in the coming years that can be used as currency to upgrade the team further.

      • They could have used Pickard themselves recently with the rash of injuries in net. To me this player should have been worth at least a 3rd round pick based on his history.

        Really in the scheme of things it doesn’t matter just an odd way to manage an asset they appeared to need & have room for in their system.

  6. It’s impossible to root against that bunch – and I can just see Gallant and Marchessault thumbing their noses in the general direction of east Florida after every win and corresponding Panther loss.

    • Marchesseault was the cost to get Vegas to take Smith’s salary. Florida is a mess, apparently Viola wanted the payroll slashed & the actually salaries not to exceed 69 mil, the reason Florida gave up 4 of their top 6 scorers from last season & their #3 Dman. They got the cap under 69 mil but in real dollars they are still over that target by almost 2 mil.

      I assume salaries will be sent packing at or near the trade deadline, Vrbata, Sceviour & Petrovic if they can find a taker. Boughner doesn’t like Petrovic’s game which is odd, he played well last year & looked to have an NHL future.

      I had Florida 3rd to last in the Atlantic & the East this year to Buf & Det.

      • Now they’ll be competing for the lottery with Ottawa, Buffalo, Arizona and – wait for it – Edmonton!

      • Hahahaha. Yes they will

  7. So Florida signs Reimer to a 5 year deal with 3.4 mil a year and yet still need to figure out a transition post-Luongo? There’s badly run franchises and then there’s badly run franchises…

    • Yes there are. Florida is a mess but on a positive Luongo’s actual salary drops significantly starting next season from 6.714, to 3.382, to 1.68 & then 1 in each of his final 2 years, Reimer’s also declines, nominally went from 4.5last season to 3.2 this & 3.1 over the final 3 years. Combined they are costing Flo a reasonable amount of actual cash over the next several years & Flo is about the cash, no team loses more money.

      On a positive should Luongo retire early Vancouver is on the hook for the cap recapture penalties & it’s very possible he doesn’t play for 4 more years after this season.

      • Luongo will end up on LTIR like the rest of them. It’s already been a nudge, nudge, wink, wink situation for many players. No one wants the bad will post-retirement, limits front office opportunities. Same thing will happen with Weber in a few years.

  8. Toronto could replace Bozak, van Riemsdyk, Komarov and Polak (all UFAs) with Peter Ihnacak, Tom Fergus, Al Secord and Chris Kotsopoulos (present body shapes out of retirement) and nobody would even know the difference.

    Trade them all.

    • Be careful what you wish for – Leafs teams that followed that line of thinking usually collapsed like a house of cards.