NHL Rumor Mill – March 10, 2018

by | Mar 10, 2018 | Rumors | 24 comments

Ongoing speculation over the future of John Tavares plus the latest on the Canadiens  in your NHL rumor mill. 

Could missing the playoffs factor into New York Islanders center John Tavares’ future plans? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Jared Clinton wonders if the New York Islanders’ current tailspin might affect center John Tavares’ future with the club. The 27-year-old Islanders captain is eligible for unrestricted free agent status on July 1. There’s no indication from Tavares as to his future plans, but Clinton suggests the club’s recent tumble in the standings and their obvious defensive weaknesses could hurt their chances of re-signing him.

Clinton notes the obvious comparison to Tampa Bay Lightning star Steven Stamkos two year ago, but Stamkos was returning to a club that was coming off two straight conference finals and a Stanley Cup Final appearance and remains a championship contender with a deep roster. The same, however, cannot be said for the Isles. Clinton also pointed out Tavares’ recently voiced his unhappiness (“Obviously, this isn’t a whole lot of fun right now.”) over the club’s current struggles. 

NEWSDAY: Neil Best reports Tavares’ comment doesn’t mean he’s looking to have fun with another club after this season. “I’m sure when people look at the way our team’s going, they want to speculate,” he said. “They speculate on teams that have won eight in a row, too. I just control what I control. It’s just other people talking.” Tavares acknowledged the interest in his future but insists he’s not worried about that right now, putting his focus on trying to help the Islanders win. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Speculation over Tavares will persist until July 1, unless he re-signs with the Islanders before then. Some will assume reaching the playoffs could be a determining factor, but he recently said missing the postseason wouldn’t trigger his departure.

Tavares has been very devoted to the Isles but I don’t think it’s blind loyalty. If he re-signs, money won’t be the issue as they’re likely prepared to pay him whatever he wants within the league’s salary-cap rules. I believe he’ll want assurances the club will quickly address its weaknesses and build into a contender. 


FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols recently cited NHL insider Darren Dreger discussing the Montreal Canadiens’ plans on Thursday with Montreal’s TSN 690. He speculated Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin could take “some pretty bold actions” in the near future to improve the roster.

Dreger suspects Bergevin could pursue John Tavares if the New York Islanders star becomes an unrestricted free agent on July 1, which he suspects is looking more likely. He also wondered if Bergevin could use left wing Max Pacioretty as a trade chip, perhaps to bring in a center or a defenseman to help the club achieve their goal of being a Stanley Cup contender. 

Earlier in the week, Dreger told Montreal’s TSN 690 he’d be surprised if Pacioretty returns with the Canadiens next season. While the Habs captain didn’t asked to be dealt, Dreger suspected the winger would’ve welcomed a trade. He believes there was interest in Pacioretty before the trade deadline but the asking price was too high, with the Canadiens seeking a good young No.2 center as part of the return. While no team was willing to make such a move in-season, Dreger suggested the possibility of something popping up in the offseason. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bergevin faces a daunting task this summer. He must find a good, established scoring center plus a skilled top-four defenseman. Pacioretty could help him land one or the other but not both.

If Tavares hits the open market, I don’t doubt Bergevin will pursue him. To be honest, however, I don’t believe he’ll have a reasonable chance of signing him. Why would Tavares leave a team that is, at best, a marginal playoff contender to join another one? Sure, the Habs could open the vault and pay him the league maximum, but I really don’t think being the league’s highest-paid player will be suitable enticement for Tavares. 



  1. The Stamkos situation is rare in that he was in fact returning to a contender who already employed him. Tavares may not be able to join anything but a team like his or the Habs if he received the league maximum. Would there be a lot of teams with contender status who could fit him into their structure, salary wise? If you are a contender do you not already have this player? Considering Vegas was apparently in on the Karlson talks maybe they can afford him? They fit the bill of a team who look like a contender without a big salary like Tavares on the books. Up until now I figured he would sign back with the Islanders. Maybe not? When you think of the situation Stamkos was in when he re signed with Tampa in comparison to the Tavares situation; maybe there is a possibility he signs elsewhere?

    • Maybe Montreal is not as far fetched as many think. If you already have Price, a healthy Weber, Mete, Drouin, Gallagher, and Galchenyuk and add Tavares to that mix you would likely see pretty quick improvement in Montreal. You would have to think that the Habs have a few players that would improve their play alongside a true number one centre. A new look behind the bench wouldn’t hurt either.

      • Looking at those names and it screams “not a contender”. The Habs window has closed and they are now saddled with Weber and Price for far too long. Gonna be U G L Y in Montreal for quite a while.

    • Vegas with Tavares…never even occurred to me until now.

      • ds,
        I never thought Tavares to Vegas until today either. When you consider the success they’ve had this early on why not go after Tavares?

    • Many in the Vancouver market are begging ownership to back the Brinks truck up to Tavares.
      Not a contender yet but have a ton of good forward prospects coming soon with newly crowned SHL prince Elias Pettersson being one of them.
      Tavares-Boeser could be a sick pair for years to come

      • Why would Tavares want to sign with a consistent lottery team that has no direction and a lack of management skill Like the Canucks? He already has that on the Islanders.

      • Ron Jull…because those lottery will soon start coming into fruition and become a good team regardless of whatever team you are biased for.
        Feeding pucks to a Brock Boeser/Elias Pettersson for the next 7 years might also entice Tavares

    • Tavares slumping badly is a major reason why the Islanders are not already secure in a playoff spot. So if he was having a year like Barzal only to see the team miss it might be different. Flyers along w/ Devils bounced back sooner than any expected. CBJ made some trades to help their chances while Florida finally got hot. Carolina was always going to be a fringe team. I think for Islanders it went south when blew the Toronto game like 8 or 9 winless games ago. No team is in a better spot than Islanders to compete for a cup than who could afford Tavares. Any team in west whether its the Sharks or Vegas would have tough teams to deal w/ just to make playoffs or get to Cup. While the East I don’t think any who could afford him will be serious threat to compete for a cup even at less money. Knowing he has a new arena coming not made for basketball w/ bad sight lines I think will help him decide to stay.

  2. Tavares deserves to be the highest paid player in the league ? I don’t think so. It must be weighing on him because he has tanked of late.

  3. Zac I agree Habs have long road ahead their stars are aging and not playing great and are both injured. They have very few great prospects and even if John signed there I can’t see them competing for the cup.

    • The Habs are the Oilers of the east both have GM s who get hosed on trades make ridiculous trades and sign player to albatross contracts under a cap and hand cuff there teams for the foreseeable future and both seem to have job security after all there screw ups

      • Can’t say your totally off the mark with that comment oil9911

      • Gonna have to agree you are bang on with that assessment. Bergevin and Chiarelli have made a mess of their teams with little or no way out of it.

  4. I think we have a lot of Toronto fans on board. Price will return to form, plus Weber,Petry,mete,Juulsen. Now i would dare to say if Anderson in toronto was a normal good goalie they would be below Montreal in the standing. But right now he would be the MVP his year.

  5. As a lifelong Isles fan I wish we had a gm with a brain. As long as garth is here anything is possible to go wrong. They should have asked him either sign now or we will trade you at the deadline. Its his right to be a free agent but the Isles need to know what is his intentions. Did you see what Stasny got the Isles could have bought back a lot for him. Garth is a idiot 12 years and counting. If he leaves for nothing I am done with this team. Garth should be fired yesterday and take dead Weight also. JT has been invisable the last month a turnover machine and not a leader as a caption . He floats and looks like he wants to go. Fed up with all this we are a joke for so many years where are the new owners??? No accountability for this franchise.

    • At least Snow made a few decent moves like the Eberle trade. Signed some alright players to help boost them. He did draft Barzal didn’t he? Hell its just the real bad trades like Moulson for Vanek who didn’t want to stay despite the pay… Nido for nothing since they wanted to bury him not let him play. I think they got nothing for Okposo when he was having good year for one of their last playoff runs. Hell I had the David Volek game on tape which was last OT GW I think since the waiver claim from Kings Hickey :)? In some ways Islanders are better off if Tavares walks than paying him. I think they will have him sing 8 years to stay for less money than expected… AT most it will be 13M cap hit, though more likely 10-12M. Him struggling when they needed him most has hurt his value on open market. Also he will get more money on 8 years than 7. I’m pretty sure he will stay since they got the new arena coming. Maybe Islanders can hire Francis who never makes a trade to replace Snow :). Sadly they would be better off w/ me as GM.

  6. I wonder how big a role the draft lottery played in not moving Patches. I mean an ask for a !st rounder would also be in the mix for a return, but with teams still fighting for playoff spots and missing them means the pick could be No. 1 overall, not sure it it worth the risk. I think we may, league wide, see more trades after the draft lottery is done, and of course at the draft proper.

    • They wanted too much for Max from the Kings or other teams. I think them wanting too much was a major reason. Now I wonder if they can even get a return like Tatar got 1st/2nd/3rd rounder :). I think they wanted picks along w/ top player or prospect… Like they tried to get Tyler Toffoli from Kings who is better than Max right now along with more. Maybe they could have got Pearson along w/ a D-man like Forbort, Martinez or Muzzin. His injury will really hurt his value like it did Mike Green or others.

  7. Tavares has two choices, money or the opportunity to win a Cup. If he’s just about making bank then he signs with the Islanders, Montreal or another trainwreck of a franchise. If he’s about winning then he takes less money and signs with a contender.

    Whats it gonna be Johnny? Door number 1? Or door number 2?

    Personally I think he wants to win and isnt long for the Islanders.

    • Winning and money; off to Vegas we go!

    • If Taveras wants money he should sign with the Panthers. They can afford to pay him and Florida has the lowest income tax in North America. Plus the Panthers are a piece or 2 away from being an elite team and Tavares moves the needle for them. I think the biggest reason Stamkos re-signed is because a Florida contract is the best bang for your buck in the league. If the Panthers win the draft lottery and sign Tavares they automatically become legitimate.

  8. Tavares slumping is a major reason why Islanders have slipped from playoff spot. So I could see if he was doing what Barzal was while the team was not performing etc. Talk about the great wasted season many cry about McDavid its actually Barzal who is the one having it wasted :). If Islanders won the draft lottery that would fix them on D drafting that stud #1 :). Problem for them was Greiss was awful other than a few games including that shutout… Then Halak they didn’t score or do well enough when he played to boost his record. Gibson has looked good, they had a slew of injuries on Defense… So they are not as bad as people might think or view them. Knowing they will have an Arena in a better location built for hockey not basketball helps too :).

    I can pursue a girl I see on TV… Though these days they call them stalkers ;). So I don’t see Montreal stalking Tavares w/ any chance he would go there ;)>. Max should have been traded, glad Kings didn’t get him. I wonder if they would have taken the 1st/2nd/3rd rounder for him like VEgas gave up for Tatar or TArtar the crap stuck to your teeth :).

    Too bad Montreal couldn’t trade Weber to the Kings for GAborik like Dion :). CBJ made some trades to boost their chances. Florida got on a hot streak, Carolina was always going to be a fringe post season team at worse. Though the Flyers along w/ Devils bouncing back better than expected has shafted lots of teams. Shame Tavares went in the tank costing Islanders post season. Usually in a contract year a player wants to produce better than he has. They probably got more talent at forward than ever in his time there. So I think he will understand the injuries to D made them look worse than they are w/ struggling goalie play like Greiss gave them. NYI can compete for a cup if they can get better play in net while staying healthy on Defense ;).

  9. By trading away Stastny the blues just got themselves 7 mios off the books. They also have to find a scoring center in the offseason and while their current standing doesn’t indicate it, their franchise is loaded with top talents.
    So maybe Tavares to the Blues could be a win-win.