NHL Rumor Mill – June 29, 2020

by | Jun 29, 2020 | Rumors | 28 comments

Check out the latest Sabres speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Brian Witt believes the San Jose Sharks shouldn’t be ruled out if Jack Eichel demands a trade. The Buffalo Sabres captain recently expressed his unhappiness over the club’s constant losing. That was soon followed by the team’s ownership purging its front-office staff.

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

While Sabres ownership hopes the shake-up quickly turns things around, Witt wonders if Eichel could run out of patience and demand a trade. If so, he pondered the possibility of the Sharks getting into the bidding for the young center’s services.

If Eichel sought a trade, Witt believes the Sabres’ asking price would be astronomical. He cited NHL Network’s Mike Johnson suggesting the package would have to include a current young player, a future first-round pick, and two top prospects.

Witt suggests one shouldn’t dismiss the Sharks as long as Doug Wilson is general manager, pointing to his acquisitions of Erik Karlsson, Joe Thornton, Brent Burns, and Evander Kane, among others. He speculates a possible Sharks trade package would include Burns, Ryan Merkley, Jonathan Dahlen, and a first, and that might not be enough. Burns’ age (35) and three-team trade list would be sticking points. Witt suggested Timo Meier as another option.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: To the best of anyone’s knowledge, Eichel hasn’t asked to be traded. I expect he’ll be suiting up with the Sabres for the foreseeable future. Nevertheless, another year or two of mediocrity could test his patience.

The Sharks could come calling if Eichel hits the trade block. If Wilson could land a superstar in his mid-twenties I expect he’d do it, especially if he’s looking for a young star to build around quickly. I doubt the Sabres would be interested in Burns, but they could ask for Meier.

Of course, this is all spitballing. It’s a quiet time for pundits covering the non-playoff clubs and they’re going to spend some time speculating over what moves those teams could make. As long as the Sabres continue to flounder among the league’s worst teams, the more speculation will grow over Eichel’s future in Buffalo and the more media musings over where he could go.

NHL.COM: In a recent mailbag segment, Dan Rosen was asked about what type of contract Sam Reinhart might get from the Sabres. The 24-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights.

Rosen suggests St. Louis Blues winger Jaden Schwartz as a comparable. While Schwartz is three years older, his rate of production during his early years was similar to Reinhart.

He signed a five-year, $26.75 million deal in 2016, with the annual average value ($5.35 million) representing 7.3 percent of the Blues’ cap hit at the time of the signing. A similar percentage for Reinhart would be about $6 million, though Rosen suggests there could be some wiggle room to be between $6-$7 million annually.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Despite the recent front-office changes, I don’t see the Sabres passing on re-signing Reinhart. It could be something between four and six years worth around $6.5 million annually.


  1. Wilson’s approach hasn’t exactly worked out well for SJ – always the bridesmaid never the bride, and now a team full of overpaid aging crocks and a farm system that ranks in the bottom 3rd.

      • Thanks Kevjam.

      • I’m confused by that list Kevjam. NY ranks 4th , previously held #1 .

        Here is the description,

        “ The New York Rangers had four key players graduate this season, headlined by Kaapo Kakko and Adam Fox. Yet, here they are, still at number two.”

        Are they #4 or #2?

      • @Nyr4life – HA, I didn’t notice that before. I would assume that it’s a typo.

    • I don’t understand why folks are speculating Buffalo trading their best player, their future to build around, their core player. Eichel’s not getting traded. Absolute nuts to speculate on this.

      And if he was, he’s going the TML!

  2. Sabres have to hit on some of their high picks . Cozens need to step next year and this year’s No# 8 has to be a home run. Reinhart is a point machine and plays well on the top line and top PP. an important signing at the right dollar.
    Is Eichel a part of the problem or part of the solution.

  3. Lyle, after play in round, will the 8 losing teams also be able to trade with each of the non playoff teams?

    • I thinks its the same as in the past, you can trade with any team but the players are not eligible for the playoffs.

      • GP. I think currently only the 7 teams not in playoffs are allowed to trade.

  4. There isn’t a lot I wouldn’t be willing to trade to get an Eichel. Guy has literally strapped that team to his back and dragged them kicking and screaming through the better part of the last two seasons.

    As a Flames fan, I see a lot of Gaudreau trade rumours that I think are ridiculous (even in a down year, he is giving more than many in his $$$ range). But if Gaudreau got packaged in a deal for Eichel…

    • Gosh, I was kidding last week about Eichel buying a house in Los Gatos. But I mean if it’s true, what a great neighbor to have, and welcome to the best coast.

      Okay, for sh*ts and giggles…

      Hertl, Lebanc, Simek, Dahlen & a 1st. Do the Sharks even have a 1st available in the next decade? Does it matter? DW, make it happen.

      • Going to pull a Toronto fan and pitch a deal for Eichel (if Calgary goes out in either the qualifier or the first round):

        Monahan + Gaudreau + 1st (2020 is 1OA protected if Calgary goes out in the qualifier) for Eichel + 3rd

        M+G are both still in their prime on great contracts for a couple years. Buffalo doesn’t completely reset and gets back two great assets plus a 1st . Chucky moves to #1L with Eichel.

      • I like your list dpf, but I’d have to include Burns or Vlassic (or even Karlsson) in there, as the Sharks need to offload some salary for this to work for them. Otherwise, they’d have five or six guys making so much money they’d have to stock the rest of the team with AHL players and their typical European guys that their scouting dept. finds. A BIG no to trading Meier as someone else suggested.

    • Would love nothing more than to do a deal like that for Eichel. Just dont see Sabres trading their franchise player. They will trade to appease him. Gaudreau & Eichel could be one lethal combo for the next two years. I see Flames wanting that #8, maybe Risto & a 2nd or 3rd & even a conditional pick if they resign Gaudreau. Then I see Flames letting Hamonic & Brodie walk & go hard after Hall to replace Gaudreau in their top 6.

      Would way prefer your trade, just dont see it happening

  5. I expect others to balk at the $6.5m/yr for at career 50pt player and who only broke 60pts barrier once in his career just like everyone thinks Nylander is an overpay at $6.9/yr for a consistent 60+pts dynamic spring player.something like Kadri”s $5M/yr is more in line to being fair and even at that, it’s an over payment.

  6. Looking at Capfriendly, Buffalo only has 10 players on their roster signed for next season. 7 are ufa, of which 4 are over 30 years old. IMO, they need to sit down and decide now what to do with Eichel. Either way, this team could look very different next season. Rumors will heat up once we know who is picking 1st. If Buffalo does consider trading Eichel, I’d start trade talks with whoever lands Laferriere. Maybe the Devils would swap Hughes plus.

    • I think a lot of teams are going to want to take a wait-and-see approach when it comes to Hughes to see if his struggles at the NHL level stemmed from his lack of size and his assigned position before agreeing to relinquish anything substantial to get him. 7g 14a 21 pts in 61 gp and a -26 was an underwhelming first season for a # 1. Hell, Nail Yakopov had 17g 14a 31 pts in 48 gp and was a -4 in his first season.

      It would take quite a combination of Hughes and ? to get Buffalo even thinking about sending Eichel there.

      • George, I did say Hughes “plus”…. IMO, Buffalo would be crazy to deal Eichel. They need to let Cozens, Mittelstadt, and Thompson all play next season. Sign their core rfa’s. I’d let the 4 ufa’s over 30 walk. I’d be careful signing more ufa’s. I know Eichels a little disappointed, but they’re basically in a rebuild. I wouldn’t try turning it around overnight. If he’s not on board with that, well then …..

      • Oh, I gotcha Slick62 … that’s why I said “It would take quite a combination of Hughes and ? …” with the ? referring to what would need to be packaged with Hughes. Something like Hischier along with their 1st pick this year for starters. All of which is to say, Hughes – until he demonstrates he can handle the NHL commensurate with being a # 1 overall – is the throw-in at this stage.

  7. How about the sharks giving up Kane, Burns, Ryan Merkley, Jonathan Dahlen, and a first for Eichel? I think Kane is on a terrible contract and every team he’s on is a loser including Buffalo and now he’s taking down the sharks. If you want to ruin your team, put Evander Kane in the lineup.

    • So, why then would Buffalo take Kane if that’s true? As for Merkley, right now he’s a prospect who wasn’t exactly burning up the OHL this past season, while Burns, who’ll turn 36 in March, has – from an offensive standpoint (his strength) – gotten progressively worse since 2016-17 – going on 5 years ago. AND he will cost $8 mil off the cap for 5 more years after this at which point he’ll be pushing 42!

      Dahlen will probably never see the light of day in the NHL.

      What does Buffalo gain from that?

      • Kane on Buffalo part deux?

        That seems highly unlikely.

  8. Buffalo’s owner has to top stepping into the picture. How is a GM expected to succeed if he isn’t there long enough? They’ve been drafting pretty good, but the owner steps in and has a fire sale. They are a good team (well some good pieces; Eichel, Skinner, Reinhart, Vesey, Olofsson, Mittelstadt, Ristolainen, Montour, Dahlin, Jokiharju, etc.) they just need a legit #1 goaltender.

  9. For those coming up with Arm-Chair GM moves, would you?

    To BUF: Georgiev + Kakko + Andersson
    To NYR: Eichel

    Buffalo gets probably a legit #1 goaltender and Kakko can eventually play on their first line. It’s known that Andersson wants out of New York, maybe he’ll show why he was drafted 7th overall in 2017. The Rangers get their #1 Centerman.

    • Gorgiev has yet to prove he’s anything but a decent backup. And I’m a Ranger fan! As far as Kakko and Anderson, along with Gorgiev, there’s zero chance. Need some salary going back to Buffalo. Rangers have picks and prospects, but no cap space. Not next year anyway.

  10. I fail to see how being traded to SJ would help Eichel deal with losing. It’s not going to be any better there for a long, long time. In fact, Buffalo will be a contender long before San Jose will.