NHL Rumor Mill – June 22, 2020

by | Jun 22, 2020 | Rumors | 28 comments

Check out the latest Sabres speculation and updates on Torey Krug in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox has some questions for the Buffalo Sabres in the wake of their mass firings among their management, scouting, and minor-league coaching departments last week.

Noting former Sabres general manager Jason Botterill considered Rasmus Ristolainen a core player, he wonders if Kevyn Adams (Botterill’s replacement) feels the same.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ristolainen recently suggested he could be among the first players moved if then-GM Botterill opted to shake up the roster. However, he also indicated he enjoyed playing for head coach Ralph Krueger, whose opinion could determine whether Ristolainen has a future in Buffalo.

He’s also curious how Adams will handle the different negotiations for restricted free agents Sam Reinhart and Victor Olofsson, and how much patience there is for Casey Mittelstadt or Dylan Cozens to develop into a second-line NHL center.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (Photo via NHL Images).

Reinhart and Olofsson both have arbitration rights. The former, however, has several NHL seasons under his belt while the latter completed his rookie campaign. Reinhart could get a lucrative long-term deal while Olofsson could get a one- or two-year “show me” bridge contract.

Lastly, Fox wonders where captain Jack Eichel‘s “fed-up rating” will be a year from now.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Another lost season will certainly generate speculation over Eichel’s future in Buffalo. And speaking of the Sabres franchise player…

THE ATHLETIC: Eric Stephens and Lisa Dillman acknowledged there’s no indication Eichel wants out of Buffalo. If he ever does, however, they examined what it would cost the Anaheim Ducks to pursue him.

Finding a way to absorb Eichel’s $10 million annual average value would be difficult. It could also cost the Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm, a top prospect like Trevor Zengras, and the Ducks 2021 first-round pick as part of a potential five-piece package.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If COVID-19 ends up scuttling the league’s return-to-play plan, we could see a lot of Eichel trade scenarios floated by bored pundits over a long off-season. If the day should come within the next couple of years when Eichel decides he wants a trade, I think we can all agree the asking price will be massive.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Joe Haggerty reports there’s some real uncertainty over whether Torey Krug will remain with the Bruins following this season. The 29-year-old defenseman is an unrestricted free agent in the off-season. Uncertainty over the salary cap for next season and the need to re-sign other Bruins such as Zdeno Chara and Jake DeBrusk could complicate efforts to keep him in Boston. Haggerty believes Krug could command around $8 million annually on the open market.

DJ Bean acknowledged Krug would have to take a discount to stay in Boston. Nevertheless, he explored ways the Bruins could free up further cap room to re-sign Krug, suggesting trading defenseman John Moore ($1.8 million) or forward Nick Ritchie ($1.5 million).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Bruins, like most NHL clubs right now, won’t re-sign key players until they know what next season’s salary cap will be. There’s talk it will remain at $81.5 million, but that’s not a certainty.

Krug could command big bucks on the open market, but a flat cap could mean fewer teams bidding for his services in the off-season. That could work in the Bruins’ favor.


  1. If I’m Buffalo, I’m asking for Zegras, Comtois, Lindholm, Djoos and two #1 Draft Picks in back to back years for Eichel.

  2. Reinhart deserves a good long term deal. Let’s see where the Sabres land at the draft. I would hope for the Russian goalie Askarov worse case. Maybe they get lucky with the lottery.
    Having a stockpile of defence is not a terrible thing.

  3. Wonder if the “talented” Casey Middlestadt goes the way of Robbie Schremp. Skilled, but not good enough to make an impact in NHL. I would see what he’d fetch. See if there’s a possible/market for Skinner. (keep some of the $$$. ) That was imo a horrendous mistake. I’m sure Taylor Hall is using his expectations based on that stupid contract. Can’t say I blame him. Why did he unload E. Kane again? I think Botterill was the problem.

    • The Pegulas are the real problem.

      • Mark, one article I read said that the Skinner contract came from the owners, not the GM.
        Another reason, if true, that Botterill’s days in Buffalo were numbered from the start.

  4. I was talking with owner of Jets he said they spent more time putting out fires made by Evander Kane than the rest of the team combined. He said Kane was a pain in the butt not worth the headache I asked why they hadn’t traded him yet he said hard to move someone nobody wants. Kane has plenty of skill in my opinion not sure how is as a teammate now but in his early days didn’t sound like much of a teammate.

  5. Speculating an Eichel trade value before he asks out is a fools errand. Buffalo will be an interesting place over the next year. I really like Krug, but at the expected asking price I want no part of that contact.

    • Kevin, file it under “desperate times calls for desperate measures” – if there are no legitimate stories on which to base articles, the pundits/journalists will manufacture them simply to meet job requirements.

  6. Let’s assume the only way Eichel gets traded is only if he’s asking for a trade. He has no trade protection. What makes him think he’ll be better off somewhere else? Ducks make no sense. If they give up best prospects, draft picks and Lindholm, what’s left? 1 more year for Getzlaf and Backes. So there’s not even any cap space for Eichel with that trade. Buffalo has 2 full seasons before Eichels nmc kicks in. He’s not going anywhere this summer. Especially if they get into top 3 of draft.

    • Anaheim?! Psh, Eichel is headed to San Jose.

      • So, there go SJ’s 1st round picks this year and for the foreseeable future 🙂

      • For what? Burns, Labanc and Vlassic plus a first? Ya, just don’t see that happening….

      • I was being sarcastic. Don’t get wrong… Eichel in teal would be amazeballs, but it is so not happening.

    • If Eichel looks at another year of retooling he could ask to be moved to a playoff team…but which playoff team has the package?

      That said I still dont want Capt Jack no matter how good he is on the ice. That room has been terrible and no idea how much comes from him

    • all good points and hinging on the question of does he want out or does he want to be part of the solutions.

      A team in the right part of their window with assets to trade is the Jets. How about Connor or Laine & a first for Jack? Buffalo gets a heck of a player and a first round pick, Jets fill a need by getting a 1a/1b center situation.

    • It is a fair comment to ask whether Eichel would be better off somewhere else. It does assume the Sabres don’t take his preferences into consideration.

      That said, the Sabres are a dumpster fire. After Eichel their best asset is coach Krueger. The Pegulas are not running the Sabres with a desire to win, they are running the Sabres with a desire to squeeze every possible penny out of the organization. A losing team that guts its coaching staff is hardly going to turn things around. Kind of like shooting yourself in the head to cure a headache.

      About the only thing the Sabres have going for them is that league revenues will be down for several years, making it difficult for other teams to absorb Eichel’s salary. That Eichel will be no happier this time next year is as close to certainty as it gets.

  7. Eichel would probably be worth some first round picks. He is a proven allstar. Not sure whether if he is a whiner or not yet.
    He is still young and a force. Draft picks are unknown.

    • He was one once

      • The difference is he is now a know commodity, where draft picks no one knows yet.

      • Can’t argue that Vinnie – but then you do have to trust your scouting department at some point. Eichel was a consensus # 2 who would have been a # 1 any other year and so certainly with no knock being rated back of McDavid.

        Of course, if you’re going to settle for another team’s # 1 in exchange you’d better be certain it’s going to be a very high pick – you can’t rely on lucking into it as Ottawa did with SJ’s # 1. NOBODY foresaw that mess unfolding as it did in SJ.

      • True enough, and Mitch Marner was # 4 that year.
        I would think he’s better than a lot of # 1’s most years.

  8. Honestly, if Eichel were available (I seriously doubt) Rangers have the assets and the will to acquire. Next years cap is tight, but it’s smooth sailing after that. DeAngelo,,Chytil+ either Buchnevich or Strome. A 1st this year and next.

    • Nope. To get Eichel it’s gonna hurt. You don’t get him by only trading pieces you can afford to lose.

      • Buffalo will be hard pressed to trade a 10 mil contract without taking back a couple contracts.

  9. Just needs a 2C and Buffalo will be ok. Backup goalie and some Gritty 2way bottom 6 players

  10. Let’s not forget about Dahlin. Should be in the Norris conversation for a decade with a couple of more seasons of marinating
    They are stuck with Skinner for a number of years with trade and retention or straight buyout.

  11. Sabres need a legit starter in goal. Ullmark is ok but not great. Add vets to settle the team & keep from tanking.

  12. Buffalo gave ROR to the Blues (actually, they took bad contracts from the Blues which is even worse than giving ROR away).
    That’s when Buffalo became my 2nd favorite team (behind the Blues)!
    The Blues should request the Buffalo GM’ s name on the cup, eh?