NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2017

NHL Rumor Mill – September 16, 2017

Toronto Maple Leafs winger James van Riemsdyk could become the topic of trade speculation later this season.

Latest on the Maple Leafs, Penguins and Red Wings and more in your NHL rumor mill. 

TSN: Darren Dreger noted several Leafs veterans, such as James van Riemsdyk,Tyler Bozak and Leo Komarov, need new contracts at the end of this season. He believes they’re of value to the Leafs and other clubs around the league.

While not saying one or two or all of them could be moved by the trade deadline, Dreger points out the Leafs have some young forwards hoping to earn roster spots. He said the Anaheim Ducks would like to add a third-line forward and they’re aware the Leafs have an abundance. He wonders if perhaps they’ll have some talks.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If the Leafs decide to shop one or more of their pending UFAs I believe it’ll happen in January or February. However, that will depend upon where Toronto sits in the standings and if any of those promising younger players are establishing themselves on the roster. Right now, the Leafs aren’t in any rush to reach decisions on the long-term futures of JVR, Bozak and Komarov. I expect they’ll evaluate things as the season progresses. 

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Sam Werner reports Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has his eye on three players who might become available to address his club’s need for a third-line center. It’s believed one of those players could be Riley Sheahan of the Detroit Red Wings. Rutherford wouldn’t elaborate and there’s no indication a deal is imminent. “I believe we have to have the right fit, the right guy to go into that position,” Rutherford said. He’s also reluctant to use Jake Guentzel in that role, preferring he remain on Sidney Crosby’s wing. 

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rutherford is obviously waiting to see how things shake out as he and his rival GMs evaluate their respective rosters. He could swing a trade before the start of the season or perhaps attempt to pluck a suitable candidate off waivers. 

DETROIT FREE PRESS: Helene St. James reports contract negotiations between the Red Wings and free-agent Andreas Athanasiou are continuing. Athanasiou’s agent Darren Ferris said they are “having productive discussions at this point that are a positive indication of the mutual desire to come to an agreement”, though he stressed there’s not there yet. The winger has a one-year, $3 million offer from KHL team AK Bars Kazan.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Athanasiou was keen for that KHL offer he would’ve taken it by now. I think he’s intent on re-signing with the Wings, which explains why talks appear to be progressing after several weeks of apparent stagnation.