NHL Rumor Mill – November 16, 2020

by | Nov 16, 2020 | Rumors | 40 comments

A recent survey of player agents revealed which high-profile players they expect to be traded and which teams they feel still need to make a significant move. Check it out in today’s NHL rumor mill

THE ATHLETIC: A recent survey of 21 player agents conducted by Craig Custance revealed Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine, Buffalo Sabres center Jack Eichel, and Toronto Maple Leafs forwards Mitch Marner and William Nylander topped their list of high-profile players who could change teams in the next year.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward Mitch Marner (NHL Images).

One agent pointed to the recent trade speculation surrounding Laine in recent weeks. Another feels Eichel will tire of losing in Buffalo. Another feels Marner could become a trade candidate if the Leafs decide to move one of their expensive forwards.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’m also leaning toward Laine because of the ongoing trade chatter and the uncertainty over his future beyond this season when he’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights. Eichel could decide he’s had enough in Buffalo if the Sabres fail to improve but I don’t think he’s reached that point yet.

Moving Marner and his $10.8 million annual average value will be more difficult to trade than Nylander’s $6.96 million under the current economic climate. I know Dubas reportedly said Nylander wouldn’t be traded as long as he was general manager, but that doesn’t mean he can’t change his mind, especially if the Leafs make another early playoff exit.

The Boston Bruins, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Edmonton Oilers topped their list of teams they feel still need to make a significant offseason move.

One agent believes the Bruins must figure out what direction they’re going in. Another felt they’re still a Stanley Cup contender but must find a suitable defenseman to replace the departed Torey Krug

One agent said the Lightning need to get out of their salary-cap hell. Another believes the Oilers must get better faster or they’ll run into a problem.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some of the Bruins offseason speculation suggests they’re waiting to re-sign restricted free agent winger Jake DeBrusk until after they’ve sorted the left side of their blue line. DeBrusk has also been mentioned as a possible trade chip to address that need.

The Lightning’s cap issues are well known and dominate the offseason rumor mill. They must free up sufficient cap space to re-sign RFAs Anthony Cirelli, Mikhail Sergachev and Erik Cernak. Forwards Tyler Johnson and Alex Killorn are oft-mentioned as trade candidates.

Goaltending remains the Oilers’ Achilles heel but they couldn’t or wouldn’t invest in an upgrade over the current tandem of Mikko Koskinen and Mike Smith. They’re just over the $81.5 million salary cap but could get some relief by placing defenseman Oscar Klefbom and his $4.167 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve if he should undergo season-ending shoulder surgery. That could provide a little wiggle room for other moves during the season.


  1. Re Custance

    Agree…. WW moving on from Leafs is not only a fair likelihood; but IMHO , necessary

    I still maintain that Leafs can’t win a Cup with 1/2 their Cap on 4 forwards…. they need to balance the line-up

    JT (his control) and AM (not logical) won’t be moving; leaving MM & WW

    MM cap hit precludes almost every team

    WW’s contract is quite valuable in trade…. $3.9 M less Caphit than MM; and effectively only a cash AAV ~ $5M per for balance of contract

  2. Re Bruins

    I will repeat… IMHO… They are waiting on firm season start date… if it is 1/1 (I have doubts)…. that’s a full month of LTIR for Pasta/Marchand…. much more flex in budget

    Let’s take the least likely scenario…. no pro-ration, 60 or less games, starting 1/1…. so that’s 1/4 to 1/5 of season on LTIR for those two… an extra $2.6 M – $3.2 M in Cap flex… pushing their Cap space in the $9.3 M – $9.9 M

    Blue line help… what about Vats?

    Hoffman (under the above scenario) is in play

  3. As far as the chatter for Laine, meh, if a deal was to be done it be done already.

    History has shown us that Chevy keeps things out of the media and doesn’t trade until he doesn’t see an end. His dealing with Kane and Trouba demonstrate his unwillingness or until he gets what he wants attitude.

    • you are 100% correct. Laine is under contract for another year, and chevy is in no hurry to move him, while still maintaining his rights after the season, unless the deal blows him away.

    • Ya hard trade to win with Laine. How about if he wants $8M plus after next year?
      Doesn’t make it any easier. And do you want to pay him that much?
      Not that he isn’t a dynamic goal scorer, he is, but WPG still wouldn’t have a 2C and a less than desired blue line (some good prospects but unproven).

      Only point I am making is how you spend the $. WPG would have a bunch of dough tied up in wingers. Would WPG rather move Connor or Ehlers who are both locked up long term and for less than Laine would command?

      They need a 2C and some D help IMO. A winger needs to go long term.

  4. If the owners are getting less than 82 games….and at least at the beginning the owners are not getting gate revenue and house sales ….how can the players not get a significant cut in actual salary.

    I would add if other fans had the same reaction I had to bubble hockey without fans the TV ratings will also be down. Therefore, more revenue loss.

    Also, if is a season defined in terms of games played and not a calendar year and how this might effect contract term and reaching free agency.

    Has anyone read credible articles that address these issues?

    • So far, Old Blue Dog, I haven’t seen anyone in our mainstream media go down the road of stark reality and touch upon those issues. Most everything we’ve seen – so far – is based upon wishful thinking.

      A few exceptions were these articles, the first two centering n European ” football” (soccer) and the third on North American sports.




    • With you OBD

      From all reporting… 82 a pipe dream

      60 or less almost a certainty

      If it was 60…. and reg TV and full arenas… pure math has Revs down by > 1/4 (22/82 games lost)…. Its a 50/50 sharing … as at now …. only 20% escrow (they aren’t getting it back)…. if Revs down 25% or more (count on it)…. is each one of the players cutting a cheque back to their respective owners next fall??

      To me , if they go with 60 or less (a pretty fair odds)…. then additional 10% escrow AND additional 10% deferral is more than fair (that’s assuming that CBA does not have a clause where rev shortfalls beyond escrow result in cheque payments from players to owners…. does anybody here know?)

      With above assumption and escrow 30% (70 % guaranteed)…. players get paid 56% of Sals (70% less 20% of 70% deferred) during 20/21 season and 14% next fall (deferred amount)

      Note … SB’s can have their current 10% deferred but are not crimped by escrow at all

      An aside… I (as well as most here and in Media) keep referring to the 20/21 season…. which in reality will just be …. “the 2020 season” (starts and ends in ‘20)

      • Ahhh… typo…..”the 2021 season”

    • OBD the players are already agreed to only get 72% of their salaries for this season per the CBA. I had also read somewhere that the agreement also specified no prorating regardless of games played. Per Scott Burnside of the Athletic:

      “The new CBA calls for a 20 percent escrow on salaries and then a 10 percent deferment on the balance of the salaries to be paid back to players over time.

      The agreement, in theory, factored in all the possibilities moving forward in 2020-21 including, not having fans in buildings to start the season, a shortened schedule and possible spikes in COVID-19 cases in parts of North America. Will the owners argue that if the league plays fewer than a normal 82-game regular season — a given now — that they can ask players to be paid on a pro-rated basis? Possibly.

      This might be especially important to NHL owners looking for short-term financial relief. One source asked the following: If players came back to the table four months after agreeing to a new CBA and wanted concessions from the owners what would the response be? To paraphrase: It would be, take a hike.

      If owners ask players to take a pro-rated salary given a shorter schedule, that ask would likely have to come with some sort of return for the players. Regardless one source indicated that this critical element of the return to play equation will have to be dealt with soon, perhaps within the next week.”

      • Hi SCJ

        On TSN they mentioned a clause in the CBA that allowed for pro-ration when season is shortened for reasons out of control of either party (citing COVID) …. I’m not familiar with that clause but it has been mentioned a few times… not sure if it can be successfully legally challenged?..

        Just guessing that owners are hoping to “negotiate” a further increase in escrow and/or deferral with a reduced season (60 or less games) citing the obvious expectation of massive reductions in Revs ; instead of trying to unilaterally invoke said “pro-ration” clause and be open to potential legal challenges (NHLPA stating obviously that the shortened season is NHL imposed and not necessarily “forced” or fundamentally “ automatic” due to COVID)

        My wild guess …, if 60 games…. negotiated extra 10% escrow, extra 10% deferral

        48 games… extra 15% on both

        Without further escrow or deferral… the proposed season of 60 or less games (obviously with no full arenas if any at all, for the bul of the season)…. Revs will be down much much greater than 20% and therefore unless there is a clause in the CBA (I’ve no idea if there is one) that allows owners to bill and collect for losses in excess of escrow …. then owners are going to take a huge disproportionate hit

        Teams like Arz of course , would be financially far better off with full cancelation of 2021 season… just having to pay management, administrative and fixed costs (such as rent)… Sals way too expensive for them no matter what the escrow is

        Expect the unexpected

      • Thanks Pengy. I have to think that all parties were 80% sure (at least) that 2021 was not going to be an 82 game season when the new CBA with the current escrow and deferral were negotiated. I can see asking for more salary back in escrow if the # of games falls below 50, but I think it would be a fight if it is 56+.

        Could certainly see a legit case for increased deferral as (unless I’m misremembering) the in-negotiation US tv deal would kick in next year, bringing more revenue and giving owners greater ability to pay salaries.

    • I enjoyed the bubble hockey. I was lucky enough to be home during covid. Watched hockey 24/7. As long as next season isn’t having daytime games on weekdays, I don’t see TV ratings being down. Would add that it’s not all doom and gloom. 2 vaccines now in final phase of approval. It’ll take awhile for widespread distribution, but numbers will start dropping as more and more people get vaccinated. This could begin next month.

    • OBD, could not agree more with your statement on bubble hockey’s watchability. Love hockey. Hate fanless bubble hockey. Until the league can put together a product that at least resembles how the game looked pre-covid, I think I’ll pass

  5. In the same article the agents also voted on which teams they felt had improved the most in the off-season.

    Please see below:

    New Jersey
    NY Rangers

    Thought that was interesting.


    • Hi Rich

      I fully agree with Habs at number 1

      Leafs improved?? IDK

      Surprised Pens not on there …. the ejection of JJ was a massive massive improvement… and net of all other moves (save goaltending)…..they got faster, younger, bigger, better

      • Leafs will be much improved once they announce the previously Leafs Insider guaranteed aquisition of Pietrangelo.

        To quote the Insider : “Bank It”.

      • Pengy, and yet the Rangers made the list with addition of JJ. Lmao. I’ll take him for a year at 1.1m over Staal at 5.7. Rangers biggest improvement was having their ping pong ball popping up in that machine.

      • Tougher to play against so they hire a 41 yr old/32 yr old off hip surgery/and D-man who has never played a full season??
        Bertuzzi? Lemieux? these types of young players can be had for some talent or cap relief or both.
        We all agree, Tougher to play against doesn’t mean fighting (Re: Hyman) but this team is not equipped for a long playoff grind where such toughness is required.
        Tampa had to find out the hard way and yet the Shanaplan does not seem to want to commit to this inevitable conclusion.
        Sorry Leaf Nation, this team did NOT improve.

    • I agree with TOR being better Pengy.
      I think their D is better, at least better defensively.
      They’ll score enough IMO, but Bogosian and Brodie should help in their own end.
      Thornton, meh, if he “inspires” them to greatness, sure why not.
      Edmonton will definitely be better if Klefbom plays, if he doesn’t I don’t see how you improve without your best D man. A wash if he doesn’t come back as they improved up front and they have key young guys who should continue to improve, like Bear, Jones, Yamamoto and yes even JP.

      Florida is puzzling unless you assume Bob can’t possibly be that bad again. Which is probably a good bet. Depends what they do with their space, if anything.

      • Hi Ray

        I was looking at Leafs as a whole…. their projected standings improvement IMHO, lies solely with the advantage of being placed in the CanDiv (if that happens)

        Were Div alignments unchanged, IMHO … it would be about 50/50 for Leafs to make playoffs (as you know, they missed again this year)…. as IMHO …. Bolts, Bruins, Habs would finish ahead of them , so they would likely be battling to finish ahead of at least two of: Flyers, Isles, Canes, Jackets, and possibly Rangers…. and that to me was 50/50

        With that in mind… not an improved team

        I cede your point that perhaps D may have improved…. but it is marginally so, IMHO

        G unchanged

        Top 4 forwards unchanged

        Bottom 6 … considerably weaker IMHO

        So taking all above; I can’t see the improvement in D outweighing the decline in bottom six enough to grade the Leafs as having improved

        Add to that they got older and are over Cap now and only way to manage Cap per GMKD is to send 3 down between each and every game …. (and that still may not be enough)…. so as at now…. zero room for TDL moves

        Again… the true benefit gain to Leafs is the proposed Div alignment with proposed 4 teams from each Div making the playoffs…. artificially therefore moving Leafs from a likely 50/50 chance and only in on a possible WC position to a high probability of making it in a 7 team CanDiv where they really only have to outperform two teams not named Sens (sorry George et al…. just my opinion that Sens although seriously improved, are not playoff bound until 21/22 year).

        Habs did some great moves and IMHO… are better overall than Leafs…

        G…. Habs hands down. Period. Full stop.

        D…. Habs…. nowhere near the advantage as in net

        Top 4…. Leafs hands down. Period. Full sop.

        Bottom 6…. Habs

        4 lines overall… I have to marginally give the nod to Habs due to the much more balanced attack

        With that in mind… on paper… Habs better

        Anything can happen… and of course my hopes and prayers are that I’m wrong…. but as at now, I think Habs are the better team

        Neither team, IMHO, can beat the two teams that I see as potentially being in the ‘21 SCF… Knights or Avs (of course pending Div alignment… they might very well end up in same Div)

      • Could the thinking be that Quenneville will do for the Panthers what Trotz did for the Islanders?

    • Well, you’re missing Toffoli for one.

    • You overlooked Toffoli. Allen, Edmundson and Toffoli have all won Cups. IF Habs can get to playoffs that experience would be beneficial.
      Keep an eye on the Romanoff kid too.

    • @NYR

      I don’t expect Romanov to be a difference-maker this year, but overall the D got bigger and is quite nasty – which I think works well in a playoff setting.
      So there’s that also.

      Price (at 33!) had to start more games than any other G in the League last year.
      So the addition of Allen (more than just “a backup G” if you want to be fair, he was I think the top in the League last year in that regard) gives a “rested Price”.
      And a “rP” was pretty good in last year’s playoffs.

      Anderson and Toffoli?
      I think these were good adds.

      Couple of other minor roster moves (eg Evans up) all lead to an improved team, all this at least on paper.

      I’m not a rah rah fanboy, but I do have to think things look better for Mtl.
      Been a long time.

      And it’s all comparative, of course.

      As I mentioned to you before, the NYR are my second favourite team, so I’m looking ahead to real some satisfaction.


    • Jake Allen 2.15 GAA and .927 save pct are stats for a starting goalie, Edmunson. is bigger, stronger addition to defense . Anderson and Toffoli are both top 6 forwards. These additions cost one starter, Max Domi, and none of their prospects.

      Remains to be seen if St. Louis kept the right goalie

    • Agree on Allen habsfan30.
      I would like to say I am rooting for him, but I’m not.
      That is a guy the Oil were likely chasing but they needed STL to eat some of the salary. MTL didn’t have to.

    • “Again, I’m not trying to slap around Montreal. I’m just not a believer of paper winners and losers.”

      The entire discussion is about paper winners and losers isn’t it?

      Of course the games have to be played to see if the moves were successful and the expression hindsight is 20:20 wouldn’t exist.

  6. If any of the players mentioned here are traded, it may not be until after teams are certain that hockey will be played before Seattle is permitted to negotiate. An increase in market size would provide the least painful way, if not the only way, tor teams needing to become cap-compliant to shed expensive players.

  7. Surprised Buffalo wasn’t included. Staal for a year at 2C brings experience and helps their top 6 and Hall was arguably the top prize of free agency. Not sure what divisions will look like when things get going, but Sabre’s could break playoff drought. Bruins haven’t done anything, and could be in trouble in a shortened season with 2 of their top players missing start of season. As far as Eichel being traded, that’ll depend on how season goes. If Hall makes them better, then keeping him might determine if Eichel stays. Their goaltending needs to improve.

    • Agree on Buffalo, Slick. They made a couple of solid moves adding Staal and Hall (or is it Haal?)
      Looking forward to watching them this year.

  8. As for Marner being traded, no GM in his right mind would do that. I’m not sure in 5 yrs if any GM is going to be able to pay Mattthews, Marner, Nylander the money to avoid entering the market as UFAs, especially when they are saddled with what will be an aging, slower 11 million dollar player in Tavares, and having to pay the rest of the group.

    But Marner is in my view, untouchable.

    • But, Frank, this kind of speculation keeps Pengy busy, which is a good thing.

  9. Not sure you would have got Chara to uproot his family, or live away from them, for what the Leafs are paying Bogosian.
    Chara made $4M last year with Salary and an easy to attain bonus. I would be very surprised if he made that again this year whether he plays again in BOS or not, but he doesn’t need the $. My guess this is all about winning again and simply wanting to keep playing.
    I get why you wouldn’t want to stop until you absolutely had to.

    I am sure BOS would pay him $1M, even if he doesn’t play every game and fewer minutes when he does.

  10. This is Sweeney’s MO he waits all summer, fall and winter and nothing ever happens I wish they’d just fire this guy and be done with it!! Other than signing players to decent contracts, he never does anything he’s absolutely terrible at drafting good players 2015. He can never land the big fish Tavares, Hall OEL and others to numerous to mention or remember. If Sweeney goes into the season with the team the way it is now he’s sure to be fired anyway!

  11. Bogosian won’t make Xmas and the season doesn’t start until January February 🙂
    I am surprised honestly he made it through the playoffs healthy. Chronic. You should not be counting on him to be in the line up on a daily basis.

    • SilverSeven you are 100% bang on.

  12. Habs are a dumpster fire with their off season moves. Locked into mediocrity for half a decade before they will even be able to rebuild. I hope they extend Bergevin as he is an escalating disaster.

    Can div standings leafs by a mile, flames Canucks oilers jets, habs sens..

    Leafs have best regular season roster in nhl. Need a different goalie to have best playoff roster. Dubas will dump him unless he tears an ACL or MCL or groin first.

    Laughable people worrying about Bogo. If he even makes team he is the 23rd player.

    Stop the nonsense about trading elite forwards, it just shows your ignorance as you would be the next GM who made the Thornton trade to sharks.

    Leafs roster is envy of entire league. They are the lightning but 5 years faster and no cap problem to follow next years no social distance parade. See you haters at Nathan Phillips next summer.

    GO LEAFS GO!!!

  13. Canadian division is better than the Atlantic & will be more competitive. Finally teams will see what they face come travel. Western teams might do better with it.

    My 1st guess on standings…

    Leafs got older no real improvement. Shuffled the cards on low end contracts out of necessity. I still pick them 1st but as low as 4th.

    The Habs 2nd but anywhere in the top 5 can happen. Them & the Flames made the most significant adds.

    Oilers 3rd but could come 1st. Hard for me to get behind them.

    Flames 4th but easily could be 2nd. Canucks in here also with kids being the wild card.

    Winnipeg in 6th but the biggest enigma by far. My pick to be totally wrong & could be the best in this 7.

    Sens last but will be big spoilers. Fun & young.

    My final guess…

    To come closer to season start & will definitely change.
    Sure to drop the Leafs & raise the Jets.

  14. Hopefully the Bruins will trade for eichel and then they can finally rid themselves of Ktejci