NHL Rumor Mill – November 1, 2018

by | Nov 1, 2018 | Rumors | 21 comments

Latest on the Kings and GMs being patient with older pending UFA goalies in your NHL rumor mill.


LA Kings defenseman Alec Martinez is popping up lately in the NHL rumor mill. (Photo via NHL Images)

  NICHOLS ON HOCKEY: During an appearance on Winnipeg’s TSN 1290 yesterday, Darren Dreger discussed recent trade speculation about Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez. “The sense that I get from L.A. – now, this is going back a week or so ago and I specifically asked about Martinez – the feedback I got back was, ‘Not yet,” he said.

Dreger feels Kings general manager Rob Blake is dealing from a position of weakness right now. While he feels there’s “a ton of interest, I’m sure, in Martinez, but not at the value that Blake would consider trading him.”

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Helene Elliott reports the Kings won’t immediately try to replace sidelined goaltender Jonathan Quick, who could be out three-to-six weeks recovering from surgery to repair a torn meniscus. “Instead, they’ll stick with Jack Campbell and Peter Budaj and will count on goaltending coach Bill Ranford to wave his magic goalie stick over them.” She believes the Kings’ anemic scoring is the main issue and they won’t improve until it’s addressed. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blake would probably move Martinez for a young scoring forward but I don’t see that proposal heading his way anytime soon. The Kings are a mess right now. If there’s no help coming via trade, a coaching change could be their only option to turn things around. Even then, I doubt that move will help them. The Kings have a veteran core that seems to be struggling against younger, faster opposition. A change of coaches won’t help that. 


THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun reports a number of “top-level netminders” are eligible for unrestricted free agent status at season’s ending. The notables include Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators, Sergei Bobrovsky of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Semyon Varlamov of the Colorado Avalanche, Mike Smith of the Calgary Flames and Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers. 

However, the general managers of those clubs appear to be taking a ‘wait-and-see’ approach toward re-signing those goalies. LeBrun reports there have been contract discussions between Rinne and the Predators. It appears doubtful Bobrovsky will re-sign with the Jackets but that could change. LeBrun suggests they could be waiting to see if backup Joonas Korpisalo is capable of taking over as a full-time starter. 

The Avalanche haven’t opened contract talks yet with Varlamov, who has a history of injuries. There also hasn’t been much talk between the Oilers and Talbot. There’s been a general discussion between the Flames and the Smith camp but both sides seem comfortable of waiting until season’s end before reassessing the situation. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: No indication if any of those goaltenders will end up on the trade block before the Feb. 25, 2019 trade deadline but we can’t rule out the possibility. So far, Bobrovsky is the only one surfacing in the rumor mill as it’s been suggested he could be a good fit with the New York Islanders.  

Much will depend, of course, on the respective performances of those netminders and where their teams are in the standings in the New Year. 



  1. The Jackets are in such a tenuous spot. If you removed market considerations, the logical path for that franchise to take would be a full tear down/rebuild over 3 year period (the Shanaplan).

    But, it’s a market that is only recently starting to really embrace hockey and the team. A big step back on the ice could doom the franchise off the ice.

    I wonder if they won’t try to reload instead.

    For example, maybe they trade Panarin for the best young winger they can find (or Mark Stone if the Sens can’t keep him) and sign Varlamov to replace Bob.

    Essentially, will they take $.70-80 on the dollar to stay afloat instead of cashing in their chips for a full rebuild?


    I’m a big fan of Daniel Sprong’s skill set, but…it’s hard to see how he succeeds in Pittsburgh given their current depth chart.

    Just like Markus Naslund way back when.

    Pens fans all knew he was super talented but also knew he was never going to get a chance here.

    Rutherford needs to demand that Sully give him a 4-5 game stint on Sid’s line to find out what they have. Failing that, he needs to get on the phone.

    • Overreaction my friend … have you ever known Horny & Rust to play a full season? Sprong is perfect insurance when, not if, those guys get injured. Rather than calling up a 4th liner a guy with legitimate skill can be plugged in. Relax.

    • MG

      Yes please … Guentzel-Sid-Sprong …. at least a 2 game trial

      BTW …. JJ … had 2 “fair” (at best) games on the Canadian road trip …. then another brutal outing

      With Letang out with injury JJ has to play … when Letang returns …. JJ has to sit at least one game in press box

      How is he playing that many more minutes than big Jamie O?

      ‘Nuff said

      Off now until this evening

    • Sprong played with Crosby and with Malkin in Vancouver and he had his best shift of the season with Malkin. That line had 5 shots on goal during that sequence and Sprong set up Nalkin for the backdoor goal. Sprong needs to play with other guys with talent. When Brass comes back the should put him with Sprong and Rust or Hornqvist, anything is better than sticking him with Grant and expecting results.

    • Excuse me, MG, but your ignorance is showing. Central Ohio had a strong core of hardcore hockey fans before the Jackets even existed, as proven by the ECHL Chill setting the minor league record for consecutive sell outs. It’s the rest of the league which has recently taken notice of Columbus as a hockey town. As for trading for Varlemov, ain’t happening. The Jackets have been focused on getting younger and, besides Korpisalo, they have three, potentially four strong goalie prospects in the system. If Korpisalo doesn’t work out as a starter (And he’s actually got better numbers than Bob, right now.), the Jackets will, no doubt, opt for a caretaker goalie until one of those prospects is ready.

      • Paul, as a veteran Blue Jackets fan, how do you see the Panarin issue being resolved?

      • Strong core hockey base is stretching it a bit. But the team would survive another rebuild due to its fan base. for sure

    • I want another Stojenov please! Thanks!

  2. Sorry
    I’ve been out of the loop for a couple of days …. things just to active now for me during the day

    Re UFA goalies …. that’s a load of talent/experience that will/could be available to “bidders”.

    This could lead to a swirling goalie carousel but I doubt it.

    I agree that if those listed; Bobo would be the most likely to move on. Not definite, but more likely than the others.

    I also concur that GMLL would be crazy not to explore a Bobo acquisition

    Re LA…, plain and simple … aging team, now with top goalie out …. seriously struggling …, something’s got to change and I don’t think it’s fair to hang this all on the coach.

    Perhaps a trade (or two) shuffles the deck enough to spur on some energy and an upswing in play. Who knows.

    Re the potential WW for either Muzzin or Martinez…, I would say good move by L.A. but bad move by Leafs

    Yes this would strengthen/upgrade Leafs D but would not, IMO , get them strong enough (with just that move) to get them past Bos AND TBay AND Pens or Wash AND Nsh OR Winn OR SJ

    Upgrade to Leafs D needs to bring that upgrade for the next 5-6 years.

    In a 31 team league …. your hopes of a SC is to build a team that can go deep for 5-6 years running …. no team will win 5 in 5 …. build to go deep in that span in the hopes that you can get to SCF 2 or 3 times … then win 1 or two times…. after that teams get into aging roster and/or Cap issues …. see Chi team designed originally by Tallon …. 3 cups in 5 years…. then cap struggles

    Taking on a 29 or 31 year old D upgrade now will not cut the prices I listed above . These two are fair D at excellent cap hits but are outside of what I believe Leafs should be looking for in a 3rd/4th D upgrade …. mid 20’s on the rise

    If either of Muzzin or Martinez were a higher level D … top level … slot in 1st pairing …. then at 29 or 31 …. not outside of the realm of possibilities … they are not top 2 oairing D tho IMO

    Ideally, and in my dreams … Leafs need a D infusion for the next 5-7 years akin to Parayko …. again this is a dream of mine that won’t happen ..,. But you get the picture

    Pesce certainly not in the same conversation as Parayko ; but a better move than Muzzin or Martinez

    …. loaded Day for me again … so I’ll be out of loop until this evening


    • But here’s the thing Pengy, what teams are lining up to trade a top tier dman entering his prime? Nobody. And even if the Leafs managed to get a guy like that, they still have to pay him. The type of player you are describing isn’t going to sign for 4 or 5 mill. IMO, they need someone in the 27-30 range that’s got a decent cap hit and a couple years left on his deal. A low risk/high reward situation. Sure, I’d love to see them get a Parayko or Jones but it ain’t happening bro. A player similar to Marc Methot or Andy Greene is the type of player we need, nothing flashy just strong in their own end

    • Pengy why would be trading for a 29yr old defenseman take you out of the running for this 5 year Pengyplan after year 1? Are you of the belief when a defenseman turns 30yrs old or 32 he is done?
      JT is 28, Kadri is 28, Gardiner is 28, Anderson is 29 and Marleau is 39; so Marleau is done and the rest have 2yrs left because they don’t fit the young core. Lets not forget Defenseman age better then forwards.
      My point is a defenseman age better then forward and their lest likely to turn into pumpkins strike midnight of turning 30 – 35

      • Caper…Agreed defense man do age better..Hell Zedano Chara is 41 and still a second pairing d-man..

      • Chara is a 1st paring defenseman regardless of age.
        The man is a legend.
        Absolute hard minute mulcher.
        The end is coming though, sadly enough.

    • Hi NBLeafsguy and Caper re: your response to my post (D— cup runs)

      Sorry again when I type single fingered on iphone and have my thoughts flow, sometimes I miss-communicate the general message.

      I agree with you both.

      I’m not ruling out that an acquisition of a 29 or 31 year old under contract and at a reasonable cap hit will not help the team. It will. I just don’t think that if that is the only move that it puts them in the territory to compete for the SC.

      Leafs need to get by TBay and Bos, and then Pens OR Wsh, and then the winner of the West— which as at now I believe will be one of Nsh, Winn, SJ.

      It’s just my opinion; but as at right now— they can’t get through that set to win the SC. I also believe that with the acquisition of either Muzzin or Martinez they are still not quite there.

      Absolutely under no circumstance am I advocating that once a player is 29 that they decline. Especially not a Dman — as you ‘ve pointed out, they start later and mature later.

      What I am advocating for is a long term plan—5-7 years that has a core (currently young) developing that is strong enough to compete deep in playoffs for a 5-7 year span. No team will be built now (in this 31 team league) to win 5 cups in 7 years. The days of late ‘70’s Habs, and 80’s Isles and Oil are over. The 3 cups in 5 years for Chi I think is the outside edge of expectations, and probably in the rear view mirror. Of course I was hoping for a 3 peat with Pens last year; but in reality I didn’t think they would beat Winn or Nsh— little did I know as neither Winn or Nsh in cup and Wsh winning blew me away — that’s another story.

      When Tallon went to work and started the development of Chi team that went on to win 3 cups from June 2010 to June of 2015— look at the start of their run in June of 2010…. Core defenseman of Seabrook (25), Keith (26), Hjalmerson (23)…. Buff (25) was also on that team and then traded. The forwards: Toews (22); Kane (21); Ladd+Versteeg+Bolland+Brouwer(all 24). Hossa was 31 (star power acquisition – akin to Tavares acquisition???).

      Leafs right now have — MM, WW, AM, Brown, Dermott, Kap, Reilly— all 24 or younger. They only have Reilly that could be considered a D that can stay with them and be one of the solid D core that fit into that 5-7 year cup plan I laid out above. I’ve not mentioned Gardner as I don’t think Leafs can re-sign and fit him into the cap.

      With that in mind— I would like to see the acquisition of a good top 4 D (or 2 top 4 D’s) that are on the rise and that are somewhere in the 24-27 range NOW; so that when I believe Leafs can start a 5 year stab at 2 cups (that is starting in June of ’20) they have 3 top 4 D that are THEN in that 26-29 range and at the end of the 7 year window (true window as I see it) they would have these 3 top 4 D in the 33-36 range.

      I realize that mid 20’s D inching towards a top 4 position (if not at already) that are currently available and at reasonable Cap hit; are very hard to find. Not impossible but a rarity. I just think moving towards those types instead of a Muzzin or Martinez—will provide Leafs more of a chance at a cup (or multiple cups)

      Again— Leafs have no shot at Parayko… but that is a bold move that would be great to make

      Also , all just conjecture at this point.

      Sorry again for the miscommunication

  3. Lebrun – “top level” goalies available.

    Cam Talbot? Is he reffering to top level AHL goalies or NHL ones? If Lebrun means NHL goalies and is including Talbot then he should have included Steve Mason and Brian Elliott on his list.

    Talbot, too funny.

    • I’m no Oiler or Talbot fan but lets have a look @ Career stats

      Talbot: SV%: .918, GAA: 2.51, 132 wins in 256 starts

      Mike Smith: SV%: .913, GAA: 2.71, 224 wins in 520 starts

      Varlamov: SV%: .917, GAA: 2.63, 197 wins in 390 starts

      Bobrovsky: SV%: 0.919, GAA: 2.46, 220 wins in 390 starts

      So I guess he is part of the conversation just like anyone else there. Who are you taking as an FA Smith, Varlamov or Talbot?

      • Taz,

        If Smith, Varlomov and Talbot are my only choices and I have to take one Id sign Varlomov. Injury prone but better than the other two.
        Of your three options Id rank them as #1-Varlomov, #2-Talbot and #3-Smith.

      • Why no mention of Jimmy Howard ? His career stats certainly are as good as any of these guys. 453 career starts – 223 Wins / 156 losses – 65 games to OT – 2.50 GAA – .915 save percentage.

  4. Man. One day without nylander and comments plummet. Nothing for people to complain about I guess

    • looks like Varlamaov is playing really well this year after the team acquired Grubower.

    • Glad to see you still found something to negatively comment about.

      Good for you.