NHL Rumor Mill – November 13, 2020

by | Nov 13, 2020 | Rumors | 27 comments

The latest on Tuukka Rask, Dougie Hamilton and Sami Vatanen in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: DJ Bean believes the Bruins will ride out the 2020-21 season with goaltenders Tuukka Rask and Jaroslav Halak. With both slated to become unrestricted free agents next summer, the Bruins could make their decision on their goaltending based on the performances of Jeremy Swayman and Dan Vladar in the minors.

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask (NHL Images).

The Bruins could attempt to re-sign Rask or Halak for a year to allow more time for Swayman to break in. However, Bean wonders if Rask would be open to a one-year contract. He has hinted at retirement and at 34 his next deal would be a short one.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes the Bruins need Rask if they intend to remain a Cup contender for 2020-21, especially with two-thirds of their first line (Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak) expected to miss the start of the season recovering from offseason surgeries. The loss of Torey Krug to free agency and Zdeno Chara’s uncertain future could also leave a dent on the left side of their blueline.

O’Brien pondered the possibility of moving Rask by the trade deadline if the Bruins slide in a big way and opt for a mini-reboot. Perhaps they could retain part of his salary to land some futures.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rask’s future in Boston will depend largely upon his performance. If he keeps them among the NHL’s top clubs next season he could end up returning on a one- or two-year contract, though he might have to accept a pay cut from his current $7 million annual cap hit.

O’Brien’s speculation is also worth keeping in mind if he plays well but the Bruins decline. Cap Friendly indicates Rask lacks no-trade protection this season. They won’t lack for suitors if they decide to move him by the trade deadline.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti reports Dougie Hamilton and the Carolina Hurricanes have yet to open contract extension talks. Nevertheless, Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he hopes to sign the 27-year-old defenseman before the start of the season.

Hamilton is slated to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Waddell noted the flattened salary cap for the next two seasons will affect things, though he’s not ruling out a long-term deal. However, he pointed out only a handful of this year’s UFA class received deals longer than three years.

Waddell also hasn’t ruled out bringing back Sami Vatanen. He indicated he spoke with the blueliner last week and feels there’s still a good fit for him with the Hurricanes.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hamilton surfaced in trade speculation earlier in the offseason. There’s a belief the rearguard could price himself out of Carolina if he has another season like 2019-20, where he was considered a Norris Trophy candidate until he was sidelined in January by a broken leg.

Waddell seemed to tip his hand by pointing out the low number of this year’s UFAs getting more than three-year deals. A big raise for Hamilton would also bite deeply into the Hurricanes cap space for 2021-22 when they have over $52 million invested in 12 players. Rising young star Andrei Svechnikov will be due for a big raise coming off his entry-level contract and goalie James Reimer and Petr Mrazek also become unrestricted free agents.

The Hurricanes also have just over $932K in cap space for 2020-21. That doesn’t leave much for Vatanen, though they could get some wiggle room by demoting a lesser-salaried depth player to the minors. Still, Vatanen would be looking at a significant pay cut to return to Carolina.


  1. Late to the party but want to comment on the Chara thread from yesterday.

    Quite simple if Pitts want him, please do so and thank you.

    Yes Chara is big and strong; however if you think he plays that way, then you simply haven’t watch him play. He doesn’t hit no more and will only rarely challenge anyone.

    The playoff show Chara age and other team game plan was to dump the puck in Chara corner and go get it. How many times did you see Chara not only being knocked off the puck but knocked down and without stating the obvious by much smaller men.

    Chara gets zero PP time and only starts in the Dzone, he was even benched during the playoffs because Cassidy realized he was a liability on the ice.

    Chara had a decent regular season, but when it comes to the important games i take Jack Johnson over Chara and that’s not meant to be a compliment to Jack Johnson.

    So yes Chara please sign with Pitts or better still Montreal or Toronto, but thank you for all the great years.

    • It’s astounding how different people see different things whilst watching the same game.
      I’m more in line with Ray’s assessment of Chara’s play these last couple of seasons.
      In my opinion, he’ll sign with Boston for his “Swan Song” when there’s a clearer picture of what this season holds, if there is indeed a season at all. What’s the rush, after all?
      Same goes for Debrusk, but for different reasons.

      Strong no to bringing Hoffman on board. He just might be left sitting out this season and beyond. Strong, positive character is important in NHL dressing rooms, and guys who can and will play 200′ games are important on the ice.

    • SOP i take Hoffman if the price is right. has good 5 vs 5 numbers. I haven’t heard anything negative about him in the dressing room other then the baggage of his girlfriend from their Ottawa days.

      Chara doesn’t need to come back, time to transition to the younger players.

      • Hi Caper

        See my post if yesterday re Hoffman as a Bruin

        If Season starts 1/1 (I have big doubts).,,, then Hoffman signing not only viable (LTIR savings on Pasta/Marchand and maybe Miller) but necessary (1 month min w/o both Pasta and Marchand)

      • Pengy i agree with potentially both Marchand and Pastrnak on IR to start the season they will need something.

        By all accounts it will be a shorten season so getting off to a fast start will be critical to making it into the post season

        If a player is on ir or just coming off, then won’t be in game shape and it will take time to get there.

        Depending on the number of games played and how many teams are allowed in the playoffs, injuries will potentially play an important part to the final results.

      • “I haven’t heard anything negative about him in the dressing room other then the baggage of his girlfriend from their Ottawa days.”

        You act as if team chemistry isn’t important. His actions tore apart a locker room that had just made the conference finals. No team wants a cancer in their locker room if they want to win.

        Florida got him for a song and he led the team in goals both years he was there and was third in points both years as well as leading the team in goals and points this summer in the qualifying tournament, yet the Panthers seem to have no interest in bringing him back.

      • Garth, you apparently like to make assumptions.

        Did I say team chemistry wasn’t important?

        Again have you heard anyone speak negative of Hoffman himself? Please forward a link or something tangible, other then Ottawa traded all their players because of Hoffman, which is far from the truth.

        Not all players are liked on any given team, dont need to hang out, just need to get along.

      • Caper, I agree that Chara doesn’t need to come back, but personally, I’d sign him for 1 more shortened season if he was so inclined to play the mentor role. He really doesn’t hurt, and his leadership and teaching skills are immeasurable.
        As for Hoffman, the price would need to be right. The guy can flat out score, but I wouldn’t pay him more than 4mil for 1 year of service. See how he gels and revisit again next off season. You never know, he might light it up with Krech…..for long as he’s around. I have a feeling this might be his last year in Boston as well.

    • LOL sad but so true

    • Agree 100% Chara gave Boston great years but the end is here, he plays with his stick because he can’t move & the last couple of years he’s been hit it the nose by some big forwards so he stays away … I thing when he broke his jaw a couple of years ago had a effect on him

    • I think that Chara only comes back with the Bruins.

      It may be to his advantage that this will be shortened season. Perhaps over 48-60 games, he won’t wear down as much.

      If I’m the Bruins, I take him back for 1 year. Let him get the send off he deserves from he B’s.

      I vividly recall watching him in his first Isles game thinking “this guy sucks. A big galoot, who can’t turn left.”

      Goes to show you why I wasn’t an NHL scout.

  2. Chara to Pittsburgh is ridiculous … isn’t going to happen. Whoever made this up should be ashamed.

    • Agree Denis

      I think it was the Hockey Buzz guy spinning a tail

      Fit and space not there for Pens

      If he’ll take $1M (he won’t) and GMJR moves CR to WBS (🤞🙏) for the roster spot; and either Big Z or Matheson can easily move to RHD…. not likely ; and Big Z willing to move from being the Captain of the storied original 6 franchise that he’s been on for almost a decade and a half…. then sure….,

      Ummmmmm….. not happenin’

      IMHO, Big Z a Bruin for 20/21; or he retires

  3. Amidst all the recent chat about who will be plucked off thr remaining UFA heap is the fact that there’s still a lot of unfinished RFA re-signings – both at the major league and minor league levels (identified as mll below)

    Wonder if any on the major leage roster will become hold-outs if and when a season gets under way?

    Vancouver – RW Juston Bailey; RD Jalen Chatfield (both mll)
    St. Louis – RD Vince Dunn; RD Jake Walman (mll)
    Winnipeg – RW/C Jack Roslovic
    Edmonton – RD Ethan Bear
    Montreal – LW/RW Charles Hudon (signed to play in Switzerland)
    Carolina – LD Oliwer Kaski & RD Roland McKeown (both mll)
    Calgary – LD Oliver Kylington
    Pittsburgh – RW/LW Pontus Aberg (mll)
    Colorado – C Vladislav Kamenev
    San Jose – LW/C Jonathan Dahlen; LD Tony Sund (both mll)
    Tampa Bay – C Anthony Cirelli; RD Erik Cernak; LD Mikhail Sergachev; LW/RW Joseph Mathieu; LW/RW Alexander Volkov; LD Dominik Nasin (last 3 all mll)
    Buffalo – LD Lawrence Pilut; C Casey Mittelstadt (mll)
    NYI – C Mathew Barzal
    Philadelphia – RD Philippe Myers; C Mikgail Vorobyov (mll)
    Chicago – C Dylan Strome
    Boston – LW Jake DeBrusk; LW/RW Peter Cehlarik (mll)
    Florida – C/LW Aleksi Saarela; C HenrikBorgstrom; LD Emil Djuse; G Samuel Montembeault (last 3 all mll)
    Columbis – C/LW Pierre-Luc Dubois
    Detroit – LW Dmytro Timashev
    Nashville – RW/C Luke Kunin
    New Jersey – LW/RW Jesper Brett; G McKenzie Blackwood

    • Recent chat about who will be plucked off the remaining UFA heap goes something like “Pluck them all!”

      • LOL

  4. Trade-deadline suitors for Rask would be very difficult to find if teams contemplate the futility of trading for a player that might go home for the playoffs.

    • Who’s to say Rask comes back? If he opted out of bubble life, chances are risks going into a December training camp are far greater. As mentioned above, if you don’t have 2 top players at start of a shortened season, and top goalie doesn’t come back you’re in trouble. Chara not going to make any difference. B’s have spots to fill. They need to do something. Bergeron is 35. Kreci 34.

      • Slick62, he left for unspecified family reasons not because he was afraid of contracting Covid.
        I don’t know what they were, nor do I care.
        His team mates had his back, from what I can see from the outside no issue with Rask.
        His is a top goaltender, they need him.
        Agree on the age of the B’s core, window is closing, if not already closed.
        One last run, see how it goes, evaluate at the end of the year.

  5. Chara will move to coaching or up to an executive role with the Bruins. Not sure if this extended layoff helps or hinders the decision process for both sides.
    My opinion is retire. I get chasing one more .
    I think however it is more along the lines of what Curtis Joseph said in a speaking engagement ” they had to pull the sweater off his back and he was not quitting”

  6. I think Hamilton would like to stay in Carolina. They have one of the best/if not the best blue line depth in the league. And relatively young. Also, a small press-core that doesn’t disect your shortcomings. I’m sure we’ll soon see “which team is Dougie best suited for” in coming weeks. Why would you leave that. He’s good, but not Petro.

    • I can see Hamilton testing UFA and he will get a longer term than a few years from someone other than Carolina if that’s the path they want to take. He’s going to be one of the top D available.

  7. I’d trade Rask now he cannot be trusted I’ve been bruin fan all my life over 40 years I watched Orr in his prime was only 8 and never have seen anything like him before or since. With Rask he’s a well known quitter. When an important game is up sometimes Rask is no where to seen. It’s happened before it’ll happen again. Trade him now while you can still get something for him. Much as I can’t stand this guy’s character he still is one of the best goalies in the league there are a lot of teams that would pick him up asap and give up a lot if he became available

  8. oh, I forgot as for Chara thanks for the service and dedication it’s time to move on!

  9. I didn’t like the Carolina – Calgary trade because I didn’t think the difference between what I thought Hanifin would become and what Hamilton was, warranted giving up Lindholm.

    I think the success Hamilton has had in Carolina can be attributed to a couple of things.

    1) Hamilton improved his defensive play and proved to be very coachable. Brind’Amour refused to give Hamilton the #1 PP time until he could trust him defensively. Hamilton responded by improving his 200 foot game. On the other side I think Brind’Amour has also adopted and learned how to effectively use Hamilton.

    2) Hamilton joined a locker room in which he was one of the veterans and he embraced his role with the younger players.

    3) His defensive partner, Slavin, can cover up a lot of mistakes.

    4) Having Justin Williams as a mentor and Brind’Amour as a coach. Both of them tell it like is and lead by example.

    5) The media/fans scrutiny in Carolina is less intense than Boston & Calgary.

    Hamilton’s agent’s job is to get him the best contract he can but he also has to realize the fit in Carolina has worked well. Carolina’s management gave up a lot to get Hamilton and cant afford to lose him for nothing. I really cant see Carolina starting the season without an agreement in place. Tom Dundon values the entertainment value of someone like Hamilton but also believes that everyone in the organization is replaceable. I think the two sides will get an equitable deal done. Hamilton could probably get more money if he chooses to go UFA. Maybe both sides are just waiting to see if there is going to be a season.

    • On the day of the deal, I thought the Flames won that trade by a super wide margin. Poor old Ferland was damaged goods, and Fox only had eyes for the NYR.
      Lindholm is the most underrated player in the league, in my opinion. I’d pay bigly to have him on the Bruins.
      I like your assessment though, and hope they can get a deal done. Hamilton is an excellent player and fits well with the Canes, as you mentioned. I also believe David Krejci will goin Carolina once his deal runs out in Boston. But just not at 7million per year.

  10. Dougie may want to test the waters, but be careful what you wish for, especially if he has a mediocre year. Covid & remnants of it (flat cap) aren’t in his favor. Besides Petro, not many “stars” are getting $$$ & term. Plus, there are a few D UFA’s too.