Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – November 3, 2013

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The latest on the Flyers, Rangers, Sabres, Senators, Stars, Canadiens and more.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Flyers GM Paul Holmgren is willing to discuss anyone on his roster, while the struggling Rangers might be prepared to move as well, with defenseman Michael Del Zotto mentioned….It’s believed Steve Ott, Christian Ehrhoff, Drew Stafford, Patrick Kaleta and Ryan Miller are among the Sabres who could be moved next…The Jets have been shopping for help at forward,but not enough teams are out of the race yet…Garrioch expects Joe Thornton and Patrick Marleau to re-sign with the Sharks…The Oilers are seeking a top end defenseman but there’s not many available and rival clubs would want the Oilers young players…With Rick DiPietro failing to impress with the Hurricanes farm team, they’re calling around for a goalie…Don’t expect Matt Moulson (a UFA next summer) to finish the season with the Sabres…The Canadiens may be willing to move David Desharnais but he has another four years at $3.5 million per on his contract.

 Garrioch also reported Senators GM Bryan Murray has held talks with a couple of teams seeking an upgrade on defense. He could try to shore up the blueline if the Senators fail to improve over the next couple of games. Garrioch lists the Flyers Hal Gill, the Maple Leafs John-Michael Liles, the Canucks Yanick Weber, the Kings Alec Martinez and the Panthers Tom Gilbert among the list of available blueliners.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: That’s the problem for teams seeking upgrades. Not much available talent this early in the season, and too many teams (24) have too little cap space to take on additional salary…The Sabres will have an easier time moving Ott, Miller and Moulson, who are slated for UFA status next summer…Wouldn’t surprise me if Thornton and Marleau re-up with the Sharks…If the Oilers aren’t willing to move one of their good young players, they can forget about landing a quality first-pairing defenseman. Even then, the asking price could be too high…A Canadiens blogger recently suggested Desharnais could be the latest version of Scott Gomez for the Habs.

 TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons noted Maple Leafs captain Dion Phaneuf has his faults, but the club cannot afford to lose him to free agency next summer. He’s expecting a six-year deal worth $42 million.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Nick Kypreos speculated seven years at $50 million. Simmons is one year shorter but is worth $7 million per season. Ultimately this comes down to Phaneuf’s willingness to remain a Leaf. If the team continues to improve, he could wish to remain a part of it and accept less than what he’d get on the open market, but I still believe it’ll come in around $7 million per.

 DALLAS MORNING NEWS: Mike Heika reports the Stars have too much money tied up in underperforming players, singling out Shawn Horcoff ($5.5 million), Sergei Gonchar ($5 million), Alex Goligoski ($4.6 million), Ray Whitney ($4.5 million) and Erik Cole ($4.5 million). The Stars currently have around $3.4 million in cap space, leaving Stars fans wondering if there’s enough to fix the club’s problem areas, such as their defense. GM Jim Nill, however, isn’t concerned, preaching patience with his younger players, while believing he has sufficient cap space to make a major trade by mid-season if an opportunity arises.

 SPECTOR’S NOTE: Considering what little is available in the trade market right now, patience is pretty much the watchword. Heika raises a good point about the amount the Stars have tied up in players who aren’t performing well, but there’s little that can be done about that now.

 NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks wonders why a team in such dire need of goaltending help as the Edmonton Oilers won’t sign UFA Ilya Bryzgalov.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I get the concern about Bryzgalov’s reputation as a flake, but the Oilers season is already slipping away and they need help between the pipes and on the blueline. It won’t cost much to take a chance on Bryzgalov. It’s not like he can make a bad situation worse, Oilers fans. Your club is not just at rock bottom right now, it’s burrowing into the crust.

 THE BUFFALO NEWS: John Vogl recently speculated off-season rumors linking the Colorado Avalanche to Sabres goalie Ryan Miller could resurface if Avs start Semyon Varlamov is sentenced to jail on domestic violance charges. Vogl also noted the Washington Capitals are desperate for blueline help, while the Sabres have eight defensemen.

NHL Canadian Corner – November 2, 2013.

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Game recaps plus reaction to the Sedins re-signing with the Canuck and more.

Sens goalie Robin Lehner left hung out to dry by his teammates against the Islanders.

Sens goalie Robin Lehner left hung out to dry by his teammates against the Islanders.

OTTAWA SUN: Robin Lehner made 53 saves in a losing cause as the Senators suffered their fourth straight defeat with a 5-4 shootout loss to the NY Islanders.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Once again the Senators poor defensive play is killing them.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: The Canadiens overcame a 3-1 deficit to tie the Minnesota Wild until Jason Pominville’s late goal gave the Wild a 4-3 win.

CALGARY HERALD: Flames Goaltender Joey MacDonald gave up a sharp-angle goal early in the third period resulting in the Flames 4-3 loss to the Detroit Red Wings. Despite the gaffe, MacDonald was critical of his club’s performance

VANCOUVER PROVINCE/VANCOUVER SUN: The Canuck re-signing the Sedin Twins to four-year, $28 million contracts received positive review in the Vancouver press.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: What choice did the Canucks have? If they didn’t re-sign the Twins they have no one in their system to replace them, and you won’t find two comparables via trade or in next summer’s UFA market. The pair are still playing at an elite level, and if they can average 75-80 points each per season over the course of the deal, it’ll be worth it.

TORONTO STAR: Mark Zwolinski examines the Maple Leafs troubling trend of giving up a high number of shots, but doubts it’ll be fatal.

TORONTO SUN: Maple Leafs forward Carter Ashton received a two-game suspension for boarding Derek Smith of the Calgary Flames.

WINNIPEG SUN: Jets forward Blake Wheeler has overcome his early offensive slump.

EDMONTON SUN: The Oilers are expected to be without the services of Justin Schultz and David Perron when they face the Red Wings on Saturday.

NHL Morning Coffee Headlines – November 2, 2013.

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Semyon Varlamov in goal as Avalanche down the Stars, Flyers lose two players to injury during wild donnybrook in lopsided loss to the Capitals, NHLPA preparing to sue state of Tennessee over player tax, and more.

DENVER POST: Two days after being arrested on domestic violence charges, Semyon Varlamov backstopped the Colorado Avalanche to a 3-2 overtime win over the Dallas Stars. Paul Stastny scored twice, including the game winner, as the Avs improve their record to 11-1-0.

Flyers and Capitals engage in third period line brawl.

Flyers and Capitals engage in third period line brawl.

WASHINGTON POST: Joel Ward scored his first career NHL hat trick and Nicklas Backstrom scored twice as the Capitals crushed the Philadelphia Flyers 7-0. The game degenerated into a line brawl in the third period as the Flyers sought to take out their frustrations with their fists. Not only did it have no effect on the game’s final outcome, the Flyers lost Steve Downie and Vincent Lecavalier to injuries suffered during those fights.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Flyers goalie Ray Emery, who skated the length of the ice to fight a clearly reluctant Capitals goalie Braden Holtby, was named third star of the game. Bra-vo, Flyers (insert slow, sarcastic clap here). You not got beaten badly on the scoreboard, your stupid line brawl resulted in injuries to two forwards.  Yeah, that’ll teach those Capitals not to beat you 7-0.

TRIBLIVE.COM: Marc-Andre Fleury made 37 saves to lift the Penguins to a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.

STLTODAY.COM: Brian Elliott made 31 saves as the Blues blanked the Florida Panthers 4-0.

TBO.COM: Steven Stamkos scored his tenth goal of the season and Ben Bishop made 31 saves as the Lightning handed the Carolina Hurricanes their fourth straight loss with a 3-0 shutout.

NOTE: Games involving Canadian NHL teams are recapped in “Canadian Corner”.

CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews is looking forward to playing in his hometown of Winnipeg as his club squares off against the Jets.

TSN.CA: The NHLPA is preparing to sue the state of Tennessee over its “playing tax”.

TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox notes the trend under the salary cap for NHL star players to accept less than the league maximum thus ensuring lesser players can earn more, suggesting “socialism” is alive and well in the NHLPA.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cox seems to be a tad sarcastic, as socialism obviously has nothing to do with it. Under a salary cap system, star players (especially those who wish to play for a Cup contender) understand if they pursue top dollar, it won’t leave much for the rest of the roster. Under the previous salary cap system, where there was a wide salary variance, many players were earning top dollar at the front end of their contracts, while the cap hit was significantly lower.  You won’t see that as much now under this CBA, where the variance has been narrowed to prevent “cheat contracts”.


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