NHL Rumor Mill – April 10, 2018

by | Apr 10, 2018 | Rumors | 46 comments

Updates on the Rangers, Golden Knights,Stars and Red Wings in your NHL rumor mill.

COULD RANGERS SIGN KOVALCHUK, PURSUE KARLSSON OR TAVARES?

FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cites NHL insider Bob McKenzie’s appearance Monday on Montreal’s TSN 690 discussing the New York Rangers’ offseason plans. Regarding a report yesterday claiming former NHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk is set to sign a two-three year deal with the Blueshirts, McKenzie points out he’s not technically a free agent until April 15, after which he’s free to sign with any club. It’s assumed Kovalchuk will sign with New York but not a certainty, plus he can’t technically sign until July 1. McKenzie doesn’t believe the winger will get a three-year deal from the Rangers, as he thinks they prefer a one-year contract. The two sides could settle on a two-year deal.

McKenzie also said that the Rangers rebuild doesn’t mean they’re tearing everything down to the ground. While they will promote younger talent, they also want to be competitive. He thinks they could get into the bidding for Ottawa Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson if he’s put on the trade block this summer. If New York Islanders star John Tavares test the free-agent market, McKenzie doesn’t doubt they’ll try to sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Gorton declined to comment about Kovalchuk, saying he can’t talk about another team’s player. As noted by the New York Post, doing so before April 15 would constitute tampering. Kovalchuk could have an agreement in principle on a contract with the Rangers, or another NHL team, on Apr. 15.

As for Karlsson, pursuing him could cost the Rangers one or two of their most promising players plus a couple of their first-round draft picks. I think they’ll look at the free agent market or more affordable trade options.

They could try to sign Tavares if he becomes an unrestricted free agent, but I don’t think he’d disrespect the Islanders by signing with their hated rival. Sure, it’s possible, but I just don’t see doing that. 

Could this season be the only one for James Neal with the Vegas Golden Knights? (Photo via NHL Images)

LATEST ON NEAL AND PERRON

SPORTSNET (VIA KUKLA’S KORNER): During Saturday’s “Headlines” segment on Hockey Night in Canada, Nick Kypreos said the Vegas Golden Knights don’t have enough money to re-sign pending unrestricted free agents James Neal and David Perron. He said talks have cooled down with Neal and speculates Perron could be re-signed as he’d be cheaper than Neal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Neal is completing a six-year, $30-million contract ($5-million annual average value) while Perron’s finishing a two-year, $7-million deal ($3.75-million AAV).

As Kypreos observed, both players played key roles in the Golden Knights’ success. However, Neal’s production declined since late-January, with only three goals and 10 points in his last 24 regular-season games. Granted, he was hampered in part by a hand injury and an illness, but that decline could be a factor in his contract talks. Perron, meanwhile, finished third in team scoring with a career-high 66 points in 70 games. If given the choice, Perron could be the more affordable option. 

With over $47.4 million invested in 18 players, Vegas had plenty of cap room to re-sign both players, but they might not be keen to spend toward what could be an $80-million ceiling in just their second NHL season. They could also prefer keeping cap space open to chase a big-ticket player, such as Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson or the Islanders’ John Tavares, this summer. via trade or free agency.

UPDATE ON THE STARS

DALLAS MORNING NEWS: During a recent live chat, Mike Heika was asked who were his top-three players most likely to depart the Dallas Stars this summer. “I would say Kari Lehtonen, Jason Spezza and Antoine Roussel,” said Heika. “I think they need a new back-up goalie, that Spezza just isn’t a fit anymore, and that Roussel will probably find a better deal elsewhere.”

Lehtonen and Roussell are unrestricted free agents while Spezza has a year remaining on his contract. If the Stars are to trade Spezza, they’ll have to absorb half of his $7.5-million cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A team could take a chance on Spezza on a $3.75-million contract, but the significant decline in the 34-year-old’s performance this season could still make him tough to move. A contract buyout could be a more likely option. Cap Friendly indicates they’ll get $5 million in cap savings next season. 

COULD THE WINGS TRADE ATHANASIOU?

MLIVE.COM: During a recent live chat, Ansar Khan was asked about the possibility of the Wings making an impactful trade for a top-tier defenseman by peddling winger Andreas Athanasiou and a second-round draft pick to the Winnipeg Jets for defenseman Jacob Trouba. Khan doesn’t know if the Jets would move Trouba or if they’ll have any interest in Athanasiou but he wouldn’t be surprised if the Wings tried to trade the winger in the offseason or next season.

Despite Athanasiou’s upside, Khan noted his compete level was inconsistent and wondered if that will change. Athanasiou is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer and doesn’t expect the Wings will have a problem signing him this summer. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Athanasiou could be dealt at some point for a blueliner, but I don’t see him as a fit with a Jets roster already chock-full of speedy young forwards. Assuming the Jets shop Trouba, whose previous contract negotiations got contentious before he was signed to a two-year deal, it’ll take more than Athanasiou and a second rounder to land him. 

 








46 Comments

  1. Just “thinking out loud”, but I wonder about the Kovie rumors. He’s 35, now, and certainly knows he has only a few years of good productivity at the NHL level left. So, it seems to me that, were I him, my solitary goal in coming back to the NHL would be to get my name on the Cup. So, I have to wonder if the Rangers would be the best choice to achieve that goal. Might not (for example) Vegas, Columbus, Washington or one of several “up and coming” teams give him a better chance, assuming they are interested and have the cap space? No offense to NYR, but even with parity, their chances of making the playoffs and doing some damage in the next couple of years aren’t great, since they are in the tough Metro, which had six teams that fought for playoff spots, this season.

    • Didn’t Jacques Lemaire refer to Kovalchuk as uncoachable when playing for him in NJ. Kovalchuk is going where he wants to play for the best money possible.

      If you retire from the NHL well under contract you shouldn’t be allowed to return.

      To be honest, I could care less where Kovalcuk chooses to play, I just hope these rumours aren’t true as although NYR isn’t my favourite team I like this roster & don’t want a 35-year-old Kovalchuk taking a developing players roster spot.

      • Yes. Once anyone retires they should be prevented from returning to the work force. Duh.

      • You drastically oversimplified that chrisms.

      • My issue is the fact the rules even allow for a return. I’m not so opposed to a player who retires after his contract expires & later decides he wants to return but fully against Kovalchuk & NJ terminating his long-term deal to circumvent the cap & now he wants to cash in here again.

      • Didn’t Marty Brodeor give high praise for Kovy as a player, leader, and locker room presence? Didn’t Kovy end up back in Russia because of lockout? Guy decided to stay in his homeland with his family. Doesn’t mean who doesn’t deserve another chance here. And there’s plenty of spots on next years roster. Not sure what player that belongs in nhl will be hurt by Rangers adding Kovulchuk. If anything, he’ll help with Nemestikov and Buchnevich. Rangers could’ve probably made playoffs this year if they hadn’t decided to sell. It was a good move, but make no mistake… they’ll be looking to win next year.

      • No Kovy left the year after the lockout. He played in 2012-13.

        I can’t speak to Brodeur’s comments, never heard them, saw them or read them.

        You should know my feelings on NYR, I agree with you fully. NYR like Armstrong in StL made hard choices to benefit their clubs long-term but were costly in the short term, essentially forfeiting a playoff spot.

        I said only yesterday that I see NYR right back in the thick of it. Having accepted Gorton’s choice, reluctantly I like what he has done & curious to see what he has planned this summer.

      • To me it’s that simple taz. He did right by himself and his family and now seeks to do the same. All within the rules. It’s a shame in a league where the cards are sooooo stacked in the owners favor that when a player uses the rules to his advantage he is vilified. It reeks of a bunch of very negative things.

      • You basically believe in a long term “No Compete Clause” which just isn’t realistic to people making a living… Hockey is how he makes a living, he wants to leave or retire that is fine… Look how Vegas screwed over that Russian player who only played 3 games… I think he complained that 20% of his contract was in Escrow not even getting paid… He helped NJ doing that so the could sell the team who were in financial ruins if he stayed. Voynov gets shafted from NHL not allowed to even play in International events… Yet Duncan Keith nearly kills JEff Carter knocking his teeth out only getting what a game? So what you do off the ice even if its not proven or say the wrong thing like SEan Avery… The NHL will ban for life basically even Wideman w/ that ref BS :).

        Good for any player who leaves NHL to make money in another league :). Anytime sign a contract there are risks… Its not any worse than Toronto or other NHL shill doctors who fail a player on physical to stick on LTIR Or circumvent cap like Penguins doing dirty dealing trades even involving Vegas to take up Cap space ;).

        Devils are just a bit stupid/greedy or cost Germany gold not trading his rights. They could have got some compensation for him before he was free and clear. Now when he is getting hat tracks against them on Rangers or some other team it will be great :). Its like Wrestling people would leave WWE then have a No Compete clause or couldn’t sign a new contract for 30 days or more. Then try to ruin people’s careers or force them into stuff to do what they want when have a monopoly on something… NHL has crushed every rival league even KHL if they can undermine it they will :). NHL for years has signed players from other leagues or those defecting from Russia… So how about those people or fans ;)? What goes around comes around its a free market or its not fair :).

  2. Anthanasoui and a 2nd round pick isn’t even close to enough to land Trouba. That’s laughable. Plus, Winnipeg already has too many quality forwards and would almost certainly want a young defenseman back in a Trouba trade.

    • Yep & 30 other teams will be lining up to bid. I have been waiting 2 years & may still have to wait for 2 more or at least until the trade deadline of 2019-20 season to see what Trouba’s plans really are.

      Trouba has arbitration rights this summer & if he chooses that path & refused to sign in Win, he could elect a 2-year award & be a UFA coming out of such.

      The cost to acquire this player in trade will be unbelievably expensive both in assets & cash to sign long term. I see no way Trouba doesn’t get at least 8 mil per on a 7 or 8-year deal depending upon who holds his rights at the point of signing.

      AA & a 2nd wouldn’t even get your call returned.

  3. I don’t think any of the teams you mentioned have it locked up to be better than the rangers next year. a kovy, a trade of some of their draft capital and they could be younger and deep than this year. NY just made themselves an “up and coming” team and as a pens fan I am actually worried about them for the first time in years. Speaking as a pens fan I am disappointed in the tank job Cbus did to avoid them. I understand it but I am disappointed. Not only do I love the series (my two fav teams) but Bobo is like getting fast pass tickets for the opposing teams in the playoffs…

    then again… Matt “proltby, T-1000” Murray is actaully more of a question mark than the philly goalies so I guess I don’t have room to speak

    • Yeah you’re right, if only the Pens kept MAF instead. Murray is 23 and has won back to back cups but yeah he’s a much bigger question mark than a guy Vegas wouldn’t take for free in the expansion draft and a guy who’s been a career backup and now can’t keep a starting job. What a bunch of fanboy nonsense. If you love MAF so much maybe you should switch your allegiance to Vegas or watch the 2013 or 2014 playoffs and see how great MAF was.

      • Again. No one brought up maf except you. Your obsession with Marc is really weird. I hope I eat crow and Murray is some sort of playoff yoda but if you can sincerely say you are confident in the pens goalie situation going into the playoffs when Murray was a bottom third goalie this season then your friends might want to do an intervention. You might want to take down the Murray fathead before they come over.

        There is no doubt that pens made the right choice due to expansion but I ask everyone… after this season… who would be better… taking expansion out of it… to backstop the pens this playoff? The borderline Vezina maf? Or the borderline starter Murray?

      • You didn’t have to bring up MAF this time because of your long history as a MAF lover it was easy to read between your lines. It’s hilarious you long for a “borderline vezina” MAF considering he should have been gone after melting down in the playoffs in 2012, 2013, and 2014. The Penguins could have won even more cups had it not been for MAF and his mental breakdowns. Murray has done nothing but win when it matters most and you call him a borderline starter? Typical Penguins fan, non stop doom and gloom on the forecast.

      • Maybe you will need an intervention when Murray easily puts the Flyers down and your superstar goalie is no match for the Kings?

  4. If Winnipeg cannot sign Trouba long term, he’ll be traded before he’s a ufa in two years. Maybe this off season they do a one year, two or long term. If it’s a one or two his days are done in Winnipeg. If traded a believe it will be to a US based team in the east. I also believe a defenseman must come back in return: here is my list:
    TB- Serachev
    NYR- Skjei
    Phil- Provorov
    Car – Hanifin, Faulk, Pesce, Slavin

    This isn’t to suggest these are one for one deal, or the listed team would move these players, or cap space, TB in two years has a ton of cap space.
    Winnipeg has a lot of talent up front some that are NHL ready but can’t get into the lineup, they are not so deep on D prospects. NO d no trade.
    Personally if Boston work out a deal which included Brandon Carlo, that be exciting as a Bruins fan.

    • The only players there moving for trouba are hanifen or Faulk. Sergechev, shjej, and provorov are either already better or trending that way and younger and cheaper.

      • The only reason Skjei, Provorov & Sergechev are cheaper is all are either just completing their ELC’s, Skjei, has a year left, Provorov or 2, Sergechev.

        I assume all will see substantial raises coming out of such. I see Skjei getting bridged this summer for 2 years at 3.5, then getting a huge raise just like Trouba is about to very soon. I love Skjei but too early to tell if he has Trouba’s blend of assets as Vigneault didn’t use this player well enough to gauge his full abilities.

        Provorov will be very hard to bridge & he is Phi’s #1 Dman now. He may just get an Ekblad+ deal this summer on an extension. Phi isn’t moving this player to get Trouba as he is a stud already.

        Offensively Sergechev showed solid offensive skills but he was lost defensively & played very limited & sheltered minutes. Love this player as well but might TB consider moving him in a deal for Trouba? Maybe but there are far better fits. With Hedman, I assume McDonagh being extended this summer considering what TB paid to acquire him & possibly even Stralman who TB loves Sergechev’s offence may be better suited to this mix than Trouba’s 2-way game.

        I can’t wait to see how this Trouba situation plays out. He can almost pick his destination to some extent but simply using the leverage he now has contractually.

  5. OSEG Prez Jeff Hunt steps down.

    Lets hope….we can sincerely hope the local rumors are true.

    Hunt to be prez of the Sens.
    Hunt and another group of investors including Karlsson make a pitch for 51% of the team. Lebretton people get someone they can work with. Karl stays. Duch stays. Stone stays. Ottawa goes back to sleep.

    • Can an active player be a part team owner (if that’s what what you’re implying)? That would surprise me…

      • See lemieux, Mario

  6. If I’m Vegas I take a pass on Neal and Perron and use the money for younger quicker players like Kane. Vegas have plenty of draft picks they can use if need be to trade for a better option also.

    • Yes, Evander Kane in Vegas. Can’t wait for that train wreck!

      • People grow up Kane hasn’t been in the news lately.

      • Ahahah…wreck indeed. Sharks will sign him though depending how well the playoffs go. 6 x 6 maybe?

    • O Boy I think Kane would easily become OJ 2.0 on VEgas :). HE best stay in San Jose where the mayor condones attacking people wearing the “wrong” hockey jersey especially if its political or free speech :). Kane should milk Sharks for his nice retirement deal instead of trying to find greener grass to smoke ;).

  7. Man… end of the regular season and gotta give McPhee 🤢 props. Team is set up for success now and has a ton of futures yet. A- on the expansion draft. B- on trades post expansion. Tatar was a good pick up but three picks is at least 1 pick too many. The draft is looking like a A ( though it should with three top 20 picks.) gotta give props where they deserved

    • Agreed. I few odd choices in the expansion draft, but what an amazing 1st year & McPhee has laid a solid foundation. I love this expansion model. Even after McPhee was done I had Vegas to be bad & I was way past wrong. What they have done across the board is solid.

      I don’t even have an issue with what they paid to acquire Tatar. A late 1st this season, a 2nd in 2019 & a 3rd in 2021, 2nd & 3rd round picks especially late have little real-world value, for a perennial 20 goal scorer that just turned 27 & has cost certainty for 3 more years. He steps & replaces Perron or Neal in a top 6 role next season & this season provides solid 3rd line depth with Eakin & Tuch on the 3rd line assuming Perron & Neal are playing & moves up if injuries occur. A solid acquisition.

      Blashill misused this player, far less this season than in 2016-17 but odd to play Abdelkader ahead of him. Tatar may well post a career year next season playing in Vegas. 20 to 25 goals & 50 to 55 points if healthy seems very easily achievable.

      Tatar is buried this season seeing 3rd line minutes & barely 2nd line PP time in Vegas if all are healthy but I assume McPhee already knows he’s not getting 1 or both of Perron & Neal back & he got his replacement early.

      • Lets see where Vegas is in a few years. That Tatar trade is only going to be a loss… Its like trading Tyler Toffoli, Pearson, along w/ Dadanov from Florida for Tatar who isn’t better than any of those 3 a 60th overall pick or whatever he was ;). In general Vegas would have had 3 chances to get a player who could have been there a decade each for less cap hit for the ELC phase if nothing else.

        He took too many left shot D-men, then traded one of the few right shot D-men for nothing… He made other trades where got less than passing on player or whatever. Like Dumba I think he could have had maybe that would have made an impact short/long term better than other moves… You can go pick by pick, I give all the credit to the coach despite the GM personally… I’ll let history show how things are, their best asset not in NHL is probably Gusev. They will end up losing a fair amt of players without any compensation. Maybe having Berube walk instead of even offer a contract will hurt them by the win over Blues or some other games… I think Vegas would have had an easier time in 1st round against Blues, Avalanche, Ducks compared to Kings who are tough on road etc…

        I did think Vegas would be 88 points competing for a playoff spot… Even though he bombed for most part at expansion draft. FEw players performed a bit better than thought like Wild Bill who needs to sustain that… While others I liked already like Miller even McNabb though think LEwis was probably a better pick there. Others might say him passing on Brown who had 28 goals like a career high 61 points was another flop. So can go team by team pick by pick to probably find better options in many cases.

        I’m not sold on their net depth unless Dansk can keep that up. I don’t think they have enough right shot d-men… Even some of the players drafted maybe I liked others more depending or thought a guy was too small to play D at NHL elite level. I wont miss McPhee when he gets fired, Gallant hopefully will be the next Al Arbour to really keep the expansion team going well ;).

      • You’re dumb

    • Jeff- Kane wouldn’t be the first athlete to be on

      • He wouldn’t be the first athlete to be on his best behavior in his contract year.

      • See kovelov, alex

    • This year is an anomaly and Vegas will regret not selling Neal and Perron and a few others. They have a couple of good prospects but nowhere near enough to have long term success. They played the short game and will fall short at the expense of the long game. McPhee, who is a terrible gm, just set up Vegas for years of futility.

  8. I wouldn’t assume Kypreos was very good at math as Vegas has bags of cap space. well over 30 million with 18 players signed they could sign Neal, Perron & numerous other UFA’s & still have cap space.

    Could someone please put us out of our misery & can Kypreos. He is the primary reason I refuse to watch Sportsnet broadcasts.

    • Didn’t we hear rumours Ott was close to sending Karlsson & Ryan to Vegas but it fell thru at the last minute? I think that implies Vegas is willing to spend to the cap.

      Vegas drew 18,042 fans per game this season & if you google Vegas Golden Knights profit for 2017-18 you get the owner Bill Foley saying they are 1 of the top grossing teams in the NHL.

      https://fantasyhockey2018.com/2017/07/18/vegas-golden-knights-among-most-profitable-nhl-franchises/

      I see Vegas spending whatever amounts of monies they want right up to the cap ceiling if so inclined. They just finished 3rd in the West & 5th overall in the standings & even if Neal & Perron walk the impact to their roster will be nominal & they will simply spend those monies elsewhere. Tuch can replace Neal, Tatar can replace Perron & a couple of last years draft picks can step into 3rd line roles.

      • Striker its real simply why Vegas would spend to the CAp. You are not going to spend 500M to just get a NHL team only to get cheap on the payroll :). Besides they figure Fleury has a small window so best to try to get that 1st Cup to secure fans like Tampa compared to Florida Panthers :). You win the cup there will always be some loyal fanbase even teams like Islanders had them until most died out or moved ;). Hurt Islanders in a way they didn’t win 5 Cups in a row or more cups. If those 4 Cups came spread out over say 2-3 years each that would have probably given a more secure fanbase across board and ages. Vegas isn’t going to make money or do well if they don’t win so need to stay a playoffs team like Detroit or Blues having those streaks of what like 20+ years in a row or seasons ;).

    • I’ll see your Kypreos and raise you a Doug Maclean.

      I can’t even….he’s the reason my tv has a mute button.

      • He is reason #2.

        Boy, do I miss TSN national broadcasts. Their panel is the industry standard for excellence.

    • I can put up with Kypreos, Dreger at TSN is way over rated. I have never heard a broadcaster talk so much and say so little

  9. Where do these writers think that the Rangers are going to get all of this cap space from? They have FAs, but it isn’t their high $ guys, and most of those RFA’s are going to get raises (sorry Spooner, not you). Nash’s retained comes off, but Girardi’s hit goes up a million.

    Just because some sports writer spews some complete garbage, it doesn’t mean that it needs to be spread around.

    • Nash had a cap hit if 7.8, they retained some.. all gone now. McDonaugh, Miller,Grabner, Holden also traded. Adds up … replaced by mostly pucks and prospects.Some Rfa’s will get raises, some won’t. And Luke you said. There’s ufas

    • I don’t want NYR to trade for Karlsson or sign Kovalchuk but they have a ton of cap space. Almost 25 mil at today’s cap hit of 75 mil, another 5 to 7 depending upon if the cap is the 80 to 82 the that the NHL has advised teams at the last board of governors meeting.

      The only RFA that may get a sizable raise is Skjei but I assume he will be bridged. None of Spooner, Hayes, Namestnikov or Vesey is hitting it out of the park on their next contracts.

  10. McKenzie is a funny guy talking about Tavares :). Like any team in the league wouldn’t try to make an offer for him if they can afford it or can’t :). Landing him is another matter, Devils would be much more likely if he went to a local team from NYI. Figure they are in a spot of going upward where he might get them over top for a cup given their history. While Rangers if they ever make a SCF again it will probably be after NJ if not Florida or TAmpa among other teams who could afford him even Sharks ;).

    Vegas could easily afford to keep NEal w/ PErron even if the latter has his salary doubled. They are losing enough money from guys becoming UFAs to more than compensate for that along w/ other contracts. Neal would be lucky to land 6M or 5M again in a contract given way he has declined after looking like he would have that 40-50 goal season Wild Bill landed there ;). Perron I always felt was likely to stay as a gut feeling hard to explain. I’d be surprised if he walked or could land a better deal with another team.

    I remember wanting Kings to get Trouba among other teams I like. Interesting how coveted he seems to be around the league or from fans. I always thought I was just over rating him for being a right handed shot which is hard to find quality at in NHL compared to left shots. Though many of the right shot D-men are among the best or NOrris trophy winners. Even playing key parts in trades like I am pretty sure Seth Jones was a right shot who was dealt for JOhansson or however he spells it. Though his stats might not reflect his value like that one big year for CBJ :). It didn’t seem Nashville lasted long once he went down though…

    I wonder if that guy things Hamhuis is going back to Dallas if he wasn’t listed as 3 most likely to leave ;). Spezza I remember when he was a stud, rather trade him even if retain salary than get hit by a buyout if possible. I think still have to pay 2/3rds of contract, so even if retain 50% its still less money or cap hit spent depending. Looks like Holty might be odd man out for Capitals if Grubaur can perform well enough to keep starting gig into later rounds. Good for him, he helped Germany get into position to qualify to even go for that gold medal at Olympics :).