NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2018

by | Apr 17, 2018 | Rumors | 20 comments

Should the Vancouver Canucks try to acquire Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza? Could the Detroit Red Wings shop winger Andreas Athanasiou? Check out the latest speculation in your NHL rumor mill. 

Would Dallas Stars center Jason Spezza be a good short-term addition to the Vancouver Canucks? (Photo via NHL Images)


THE PROVINCE: Ben Kuzma suggests the Vancouver Canucks “need to examine whether a motivated veteran on an expiring 2018-19 contract can buy development time” for young centers Elias Pettersson and Adam Gaudette. One option could be Dallas Stars veteran Jason Spezza, whose production declined this season in part because of their depth at center. 

While Spezza has a $7.5 million cap hit, the Stars are open to picking up a big chunk of it rather than buying out the final year of his contract. Kuzma noted Spezza has a 10-team no-trade clause but wondered if the center might look at the Canucks’ situation and see an opportunity for himself. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Spezza is willing to accept a trade to Vancouver and the Stars agree to both pick up $3 million of his cap hit and set a reasonable asking price, perhaps he’d be a worthwhile short-term acquisition for the Canucks. If he plays well for the Canucks he could become a bargaining chip at next year’s trade deadline.


THE DETROIT NEWS: Ted Kulfan recently wondered if forward Andreas Athanasiou has a future with the Red Wings. Despite the 23-year-old winger’s speed and skills, inconsistency remains an issue. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer. He should have a contract in place by mid-August, avoiding the possibility of repeating last summer’s contentious negotiations. Kulfan asked if the Wings might be better off trading Athanasiou for a young defenseman. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Wings general manager Ken Holland might be reluctant to give up too soon on Athanasiou. However, he must avoid investing too much for too long in a player who remains a work in progress. If a rival club carrying blueline depth expresses interest in Athanasiou, I think Holland will listen. 



  1. Spezza with 2.5 held might be a worthwhile risk for a team needing center depth. Centers are at a premium and he would be had for very little… low risk high reward situation.

    • Dallas will have to take back more than 2.5… likely closer to half of the contract. Agree some team will benefit from his Veteran presence and allow young Cs to mature. NOTE: Cannucks are one of his NO TRADE teams (as at now)

      • Not so sure. 5 mil a year for a 2/3 center is about going rate

      • How do you know this?

      • Kevjam if you look at the salaries of some decent 2C or 3C around the league at capfriendly.com you will see that $5 million is a pretty good median cost.

        That’s what Kadri, Tyler Johnson and Little have for salary this year, for instance.

      • Sorry, my question was directed to Pengy about knowing that Spezza has the Canucks on his no trade list.

  2. For one year and possibility of getting an asset or 2 such as pick/prospect, I dont mind Canucks taking on Spezza but he has a 10 team no-trade list so that puts a possible kybosh on things.

    If Det is shopping Athanisaou, I hope Benning is active in going after him. A 2nd year in a row on pace for 20+ goals. Add his speed, hands and toughness and age, he fits exactly to what this team is trying to piece together.
    AA-Horvat-Boeser could be an awesome line….on oaper anyway

    • Hi Tyler, as at right now Vanc is one of the 10 NO Trade teams on Spz list. Even if Dallas takes a bucket in $’s back, Vanc is NOT also getting an asset or two back … they would have to give up something. AA-H-B line would be great but I believe that Det will be asking quite a bit for AA

      • Hey Pengy…
        You are most likely right about Spezza and i noted the possibility of us not being on his list. I was offering my opinion tho that I would be ok with that situation whether its Spezza or anyone else.
        Also stating my xmas wish list of aquiring AA. I would hope that Benning would still be pro-active in getting a guy like AA. His attributes fit the profile of what Benning is trying to gather.
        Cheers man

    • Dallas won’t pay assets to move Spezza. Likely would get an asset like a mid pick back after holding some salary

      • Says you

      • yeah but more often than not that means it’s correct, so….

      • Not a chance Dallas doesn’t have to give a pick or prospect to move spezza! Where have you been the last 5 yrs? Geez

  3. I’m not a canuck fan, but since the Canucks won’t be anywhere near making noise for the next while, why not take on a couple of bad contracts plus draft picks & prospects, for starters; Instead of trying to do a piecemeal rebuild on the go.

  4. I don’t see why CAnucks would trade for Spezza unless they are getting some picks and prospects… Figure they are not going to make the playoffs the next few years… I don’t see them making the top 3 in Pacific over the 3 California teams or even Vegas… Then it will be hard to finish above Oilers unless they continue to be awful… Even Coyotes eventually will probably claw their way above them before moving to Mexico :).

    Stars are a team they will have to beat out for the wild card… So seems odd to help a team they will have to beat anyways. When Chicago is like the last place team in that division w/ multiple cups its a daunting task. SEattle will probably make the playoffs before Vancouver unless they improve in Net among some other spots. They got some nice young players at forward though not sold on their defense… I wouldn’t be betting on them winning a Norris anytime soon for example ;).

  5. AA sat 9th in TOI/GP at forward for Det this year, barely 3rd line minutes, 10th in PP TOI/GP for all players barely 2nd unit power play time. Hard to generate significant points playing in those roles.

    Tatar has been traded so someone; Bertuzzi, is moving up the roster & that should get AA slightly better icetime both at ES & on the PP. Having played only 172 NHL regular season games his breakthrough should come next season.

    • Striker, do you think last years contract fiasco could play in AA getting moved? Maybe some bad blood there? Rangers have a ton of Young D prospects now, and have small chance of winning Dahlen lottery,which would make others available. Also a bunch of picks

  6. Spezza (3m retained) to MTL……..
    makes sense

    • Montreal would trade them a rookie stud D-man for a Drone too :). Clearly Spezza will end up on Rangers since when they rebuild its 35+ welcome and wanted ;). Sorta like the Mets who would sign guys to be the tar pits of MLB. If Hellebuyck on JEts don’t win Vezina will boycott the NHL :). Its like Pekka Rinne is the most over rated goalie to ever play the game who showed his true colors in SCF… Tampa goalie faded badly after a star that deserved half season VEzina ;). Winnipeg Jets are one of the most offensive teams in NHL w/ a defense that would make the Islanders blush… They had to deal with injuries to key players but his stats still were solid replacing Mason who was supposed to play more or be the starter ;). Pekka Rinne would have a GAA in the 3’s if he was on Jets w/ .876 Sv_percentage just like his SCF numbers haha ;). NHL trying hard to rig game against Capitals they allow a clear off side OT winner then remove a goal where off sides was bogus… That entire off sides rule needs to go from NHL its stupid and worthless… Its not called properly like PK Subban had a clear goal they claim its offsides total BS. Then they don’t have guts to call what was a blatant off sides compared to that against Capitals ;)? I guess being on Team Putin the NHL is making sure Ovey don’t win… That crap series better not go into OT to cut into Kings game again :). Spezza should retire to replace Sharp on the NBCSN :).

      • Haha, nice shot at Rangers… one of the youngest teams. Guess 35+ comment based on Kovy rumors? Rangers actually would fit based on not having center depth, which was a huge problem this year. Desharnais a UFA, doubtful they sign him. With teenagers Anderson and Chytil in fold, might not be a bad idea adding veteran depth for a year. I don’t see it happening though till end of summer, if at all… wouldn’t give up much