NHL Rumor Mill – November 17, 2020

by | Nov 17, 2020 | Rumors | 42 comments

Some recent Leafs speculation and a look at Dougie Hamilton’s contract situation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked what might happen if the Toronto Maple Leafs miss the playoffs or are eliminated in the opening round. He believes team president Brendan Shanahan, general manager Kyle Dubas and head coach Sheldon Keefe should be granted one more shot in 2021-22. However, it could spell the end of the “Core Four” of Auston Matthews, John Tavares, Mitch Marner and William Nylander.

Toronto Maple Leafs forward William Nylander (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox noted Dubas has resisted breaking up that core, pointing out the moves made during this offseason doesn’t project a sense of hot-seat panic. Nevertheless, a shakeup could be in store if the Leafs make another early playoff exit or miss the postseason entirely.

Matthews, Tavares and Marner each earn over $10.8 million annually. Tavares has a full no-movement clause. It could be difficult moving one of them under a flattened cap for 2021-22, Nylander could be the more likely trade chip. His annual average value ($6.96 million) is more affordable and he lacks no-trade protection.

Fox believes the Leafs are done for the offseason. He doesn’t rule out professional tryout offers (PTO), noting Dubas said he’s open to anything. However, the club’s lack of cap space makes it unlikely they’ll sign another UFA or go the PTO route.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Leafs are above the $81.5 million cap by just over $1 million according to Cap Friendly. They have no room for other additions unless Dubas acquires a player on permanent long-term injury reserve for additional salary-cap wiggle room or makes a cost-cutting trade.

NBC SPORTS: James O’Brien believes Dougie Hamilton’s next contract is among several big decisions facing the Carolina Hurricanes in 2021. GM Don Waddell is interested in negotiating a new deal with him before the start of the season.

O’Brien speculates Hamilton will want security after being traded twice. While the 27-year-old rearguard could find next year’s UFA market challenging, O’Brien notes high-end defensemen like Alex Pietrangelo and Torey Krug received lucrative deals this year. Even lesser blueliners like Chris Tanev, Dylan DeMelo and Joel Edmundson were among those receiving significant terms.

The Hurricanes must also re-sign rising star Andrei Svechnikov plus goaltenders James Reimer and Petr Mrazek will become UFAs next summer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s understandable that Waddell would be interested in signing Hamilton before this season opens. The puck-moving blueliner is in the final season of a six-year deal with an AAV of $5.75 million. Hamilton was in the running for the Norris Trophy last season until sidelined by a broken leg. Another Norris-worthy performance in 2020-21 could push his asking price to between $8 – $9 million annually.

The Hurricanes have over $52 million invested in 12 players for 2020-21. Big raises for Hamilton and Svechnikov could use up a combined $15 million. Given the uncertainty over next season and another flattened salary cap, the Hurricanes might not spend to the ceiling for 2021-22. The longer Hamilton goes unsigned, the more his name will surface in the rumor mill during 2020-21.


  1. Hamilton, nothing against the skill, but why three teams at the start of a career? I am asking because I have no idea what the answer is, but it just seems like a warning sign.

    • Sort of like Mike Hoffman?

      • Nope. Not shuffled for his fiance criminally harassing the wife of the Captain.

      • I know that SCJ … what I meant was, in reference to “three teams at the start of a career” (Ottawa, San Jose (for 6 hours) and Florida …” Different reasons – same results … sort of ….

      • No George, that incorrect to compare the two.
        Hoffman was/is a cancer. Just look at how long he’s waiting to sign. Other teams are aware of his reputation.

        Hamilton on the other hand is considered a “nerd”. He enjoys things that most hockey players do not. He’s sort of an intellectual, which can put people off, but not like Hoffman.

        Apples and oranges.

    • In Calgary the rumours were that he ‘wasn’t a team player’ which was centered around him being a little introverted (not going to team dinners for example). Quiet guy who keeps to himself.

      His participation in the Hurricane after game celly’s seems to show he’s come out of his shell a bit though.

      • I think he loves playing in Raleigh. Good team, very good blue line. a reasonable shot at the cup. However, like other players expecting more , flat cap/Covid will play into decision making. I also don’t think Dougie has same pedigree as Petro. He’s not going to get that kinda $$. We might even see a “home town” discount. I agree with above comment 3rd team in his relatively short career. Where do people get the idea he’s quiet/reserved? He’s a jokester.

      • Dougie Hamilton seemed to always frustrate coaches as there always seemed like there could be more to his game. He’s a big man at 6’5” and plays likes he’s 5’6”. Never took the body. Shied away from the physical.

        He was also very introverted and didn’t want to engage in team functions (which is fine in my opinion).

        The real reason he got sent packing from Calgary, he was pouting his brother Freddie was in the minors. And then when Calgary sent Freddie packing Dougie was pissed and got more vocal about it and they decided it was time to move on.
        He also wasn’t that good in Calgary unless he was paired with Gio.
        I believe they played him with Gio the last year in calgary to showcase him for a trade. Which worked out well.

        I think all things considered. Flames won that trade.

        Ferland and Hamilton and fox (who said he wouldn’t sign with flames)

        Hanafin and Lindholm

    • Because he is a more of a finesse defender.

    • redmonsters, he asked to be traded out of Boston, nobody really knows why, been a couple of speculations, one he was the youngest players and no one to hang out with. Teammates said he was quiet however they all liked him second reason given because the Bruins wouldn’t sign his brother Freddie. When traded to Calgary the flames did sign Freddie.

      I never liked the trade as a bruin fan, don’t give away 6’6″ dman who can skate and score. Wish he was a little more physical.

      • Caper, I heard the same story about asking for a trade and wanting his brother in the organization. Seemed odd until Calgary then traded for him. Freidman says it was a personality clash and not the brother story. With who I don’t know. Seems more realistic than a kid making crazy trade demands for his brother.
        In Calgary they said he was a bit of a loner, would rather go to the museum than the bar with the boys. No idea if true, but really, who cares.
        Agree Caper, unless the guy is a total A-hole and cancer you find a way to make it work. He won the OHL scholastic award (so did his brother), and didn’t take the easy stuff. Not an idiot, just different and maybe more comfortable in a museum than a bar.
        At least Calgary got a good return, Boston not so much.

    • The answer is simple, its about Carolina properly managing the team payroll. Carolina wants to sign him and he is a good fit on and off the ice. It’s a contract negotiation not a problem with Hamilton. Both sides are trying to determine his value in todays market and the impact on the team payroll going forward. He has proven to be very coachable and a team player that has embraced his new role with younger players. Its time to stop all of the “speculation” of issues with Hamilton and his teammates or coaches.

    • Players get traded. Sometimes it’s just positional depth or just the old “gotta give to get”. Hamilton is 27. He was traded twice, both after 3 seasons with team that dealt him. If he had issues, I don’t think he last that long. Besides, as noted here, Carolina seems happy with him and could lock him up long term. Hofman had the well publicized situation in Ottawa, but still really only traded once. Florida has new Mngmt and focused on fixing defense. They let Dadinov walk. They have some high end forward prospects that could make the jump this season, so I don’t see not signing Hofman as anything to do with him personally. Maybe he’s just exploring options. Hall is on 4th team on a one year deal. Is anyone talking about him as a problem?

  2. Leafs had better hope for a healthy season . We already know Bogosian is going on the shelf. You can start that lottery now.
    I don’t know how I feel about Hamilton . He was in fact having a Norris year until he broke his leg. I believe he is a 20 goal defence-man but should not get anywhere near Pietrangelo money for reasons noted above . His history indicates that he will not be in the leadership group on any team and that is where the big money land. Expiring contract dollars seem about right for a new deal.

    • I think he is worth Petro money all day. Different player, but also better in some ways than Petro, especially offensively. Bigger, faster, younger, score more goals runs a better PP. Did I mention he kills penalties?
      He doesn’t suck defensively, actually very effective due to his size and skating ability. If he was more physical even better. He ain’t like that, but you have to appreciate what he is. Maybe he takes less to stay in Carolina because he seems to like it there, but he is worth Petro money, even more IMO.

      • Agree Ray, wonder if he would sign in Boston.

      • That thought entered my mind as well Caper, but seemed like a stretch.
        Would be exactly what WPG needs. Cup contender with him IMO. They could afford him if they moved Laine. Sign and trade? CAR is already deep on D.
        CAR is a team on the rise, great D core along good young forwards. Not sure why he would leave.

      • I haven’t seen Dougie play much in Carolina but I saw virtually every game in Calgary and while there he hardly ever played PK and was a real liability defensively (great corsi though). I agree he played like a small man but occasionally could throw the body with good results. Unfortunately that was rare. He was very good on the PP and took a ton of shots, and he has a great shot.

  3. Re Fox … and what might happen if Leafs miss playoffs again….. believing Shannon, Dubas, and Keefe should be granted another shot…. ??????

    If the Divs stay as is (long shot)…. as at right now…. the chances are 50/50 IMHO that they miss the playoffs …. on paper they should finish out of top 3 in Atlantic thus battling with 4 Metro teams for WC spot… under that scenario…Dubas (and therefore Shanny) haven’t managed/built a winning team…. why one more shot… they would then need to go. Possibly Keefe stays.

    If there is a CanDiv (looking more and more like it) and NHL goes with current suggestion of top 4 in each Div making playoffs…. then if Leafs miss playoffs …. Shanny, Dubas, Keefe…. AND at least one of the big 4 have to go. Period.

    Regardless… Leafs are not Cup bound in ‘21…. IMHO, can’t win the cup with 1/2 Cap spent on 4 forwards…. so the big 4 all can’t stay

    The CanDiv scenario , IMHO, just may have saved Shanny’s and Dubas’ jobs as that Div alignment , as at now, would move Leafs from a 50/50 bubble/miss playoffs scenario, to a high probability of making the playoffs (only needing to best 2 Can teams not named Sens [sorry George et al, Sens on rise but I think likely last in a Can Div ‘21; …..21/22 big big diff though, and 22/23…. Sens right up there at/near top of Div])

    Under any alignment… if Leafs fail to get to round two…. Shanny, Dubas, and at least one of top 4 (should be WW) must go


    • No prob Pengy – easy to pick last in an all-Canadian Div … but don’t be surprised if they become the surprise team of whatever season unfolds.

      However, I just can’t understand all this chatter about having any semblance of a season … not when EVERY province in Canada – and now even the Territories – are experiencing proliferating positive cases – and deaths – unlike anything we’ve seen so far. And that is two-fold in the U.S., not to mention the rest of the globe.

      Forget all the positive talk about “almost 95% effective vaccines” saving the day. Yes, that is indeed good news. But you don’t manufacture, distribute in the hundreds and hundreds of millions, and disseminate a vaccine in the space of 6 months. With perhaps the need to implement it twice in a year after the results of that study in the U.K.

      Nor, I’m convinced, is any sort of season goin to take place when the two biggest provinces are extending “red zones” throughout, and other provinces are under increasing pressure to do the same.

      Some can keep yapping about “conspiracies” or “the importance of sports being a”necessity” – but I firmly believe more now realize that the importance of life takes precedence. And any politician who decrees that, when the vaccines begin to arrive, sports figures go to the head of the line, will be voted out of office.

      • the way I see this playing out is that the canadian teams will play out of a US city this season, similar to the jays/MLB.

        The NHL has shown they can maintain a bubble as well as the NBA and perhaps better than NFL&MLB. They will be allowed to operate in the US with less restrictions and perhaps with some fans in the arenas. There is too much money at stake for the NHL to turn away from a season. If they feel a Canadian division could get shut down they wont start (and for sure not with a US based contigency plan).

        Winnipeg – maybe Grand Forks
        Calgary or Edmonton – Salt Lake & ??
        Vancouver – Seattle
        Toronto – University of Michigan (lots of options?)
        Ottawa – Hartford
        Montreal – ?

      • Maybe under the outgoing jurisdiction – but the new guy, who takes office early in January, ran a campaign lambasting the half-assed approach to the pandemic by his predecessor. Any sense within the electorate that he was just blowing smoke out of his butt by allowing sports to continue until the country gets a firm handle on the virus, especially allowing Canadian franchises to operate out of U.S. cities, thereby getting his administration off to a questionable start, will result in another Dem one-term president.

      • Hi George

        Yes these percentages and raw numbers are scaring the crap out of me

        I’m still doing the grocery shopping every weekend for my soon to be nonagenarian mom…. but I drop the groceries on her porch, ring the bell , and talk to her from 10’ away.

        I’ve not hugged her in 8 months; no big celebrations (which are common in our fam) for anybody; no Easter celebration, anniversary , thanksgiving, there won’t be a big Christmas dinner, or New Years celebration; my milestone B-Day just around the corner

        Scary scary scary

        My gut feeling is that they will get season underway…. wild guess …

        1/2 start

        Realigned Divs (regionally including CanDiv)

        Grouped games in Cities (e.g. Leafs go to Ottw for 3 games in 5 nights; then 4 in 6 in Mon; then home for 3 in 5 against Jets; 4 in 6 against Van; then on to Alta for 7 total games against Oil and Flames)

        48-60 games… another 10% each for escrow AND deferral for 60; 15%/15% for 48

        No fans at all until say 15/3 …. where they start at 20% capacity max…. spaced/taped off seating

        Slowly increasing allowed fans to max 40% by end of season (by Victoria Day ??)

        Playoffs….Top 4 in each Div… 1 v 4 , 2 v 3 ….. possible 2-3-2 format???

        If by mid June there is a city with low low COVID numbers (I dream)…. final 4 play in one city with full capacity…. this by far is the wildest dream

        Cup awarded before Tokyo Olympics start (if happens)…. 4 alternate Captains for Knights doing rock, paper scissors to see who accepts cup from Bettman

        We all can dream 😄😄

      • You’re right, George, I read an article the other day about the Super Bowl and the theme was how unlikely that it would be played this year, given the seriousness of this second wave of the virus.
        I think it’s quite possible we see an end to the NFL season by Christmas. College football is on the brink and, in spite of the NFL’s best efforts, the risk of major outbreaks among teams increases daily.
        Can’t see the NHL starting its season until the spring, if at all.
        Hope I’m wrong, would love to watch games in an all-Canadian division.

      • George, vaccine doses have already been mass produced. The process for approval has been on going with thousands getting the vaccine already. Distribution plans are already taking place. Cases are up now due to most activities being moved indoors. Restrictions are going back in place now to slow spread. There’s 2 different vaccines now that could get FDA approval this month, with vaccinations beginning in December. One of them is 2 doses, 28 days apart. The other is 1 dose. As far as NHL, they won’t get any preference for vaccine, as most young athletes aren’t really at serious risk. (My son had it, along with most of his teammates… very mild symptoms) NHL does have the benefit of being able to afford expanded testing. I understand your pessimism, but I think once vaccine rolls out, you’ll see gradual reduction in cases as more and more vaccinations take place. It still won’t be a normal season, but I believe right now things are as bad as they can get.

      • Slick62, I sincerely hope you’re right and I’m wrong. But where are you getting your information when you say “The process for approval has been on going with thousands getting the vaccine already.” Where? And with what vaccine?

        According to our illustrious WE benefactor Canada won’t be seeing any until sometime in the spring


      • I haven’t seen that either Slick and George.
        These companies were guaranteed orders for the sole purpose of pushing the envelope with production and I wouldn’t be surprised if they started producing if they were confident in their results.
        The most recent (yesterday) timeline to have majority of population vaccinated in Canada was late Q3 early Q4 2021.
        The vaccine does look promising though.
        Messenger RNA technology is flippin amazing and why they were able to develop it so fast. Science is leading the way again.

        Article below tells the story of how it works and how it was developed. Mind blowing, and we are lucky to be in the era we are when it comes to this stuff. Not just Covid but other illnesses in the future.


      • What Fauci said regarding the short term timeline.

        “Obviously, the data speak for themselves,” says Anthony Fauci, head of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which helped support the study. “This is a very positive result.” He suspects that by late next month doses of one or both vaccines could start to be offered to people at highest risk from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.

        A free link that explains it as well.


    • reilly, muzzin–had injury issues
      tavares had wrist issue most of the year
      leafs will be fine

      • Hi Jeff

        Hoping I’m wrong and you’re right

        I’d be lying if I said there was no chance that Leafs get to second round this year; but I’d be lying much more if I said that Leafs had a shot a a Cup in ‘21…. I just can’t fathom that scenario …. I can dream about it and yearn for it…. but pure logic unfortunately smacks that heavenly vision down with tremendous speed and lasting sting

        Their window IMHO is now ‘22 – ‘24….. and cannot happen IMHO , with Leafs still having all 4 of JT (not moving w/o his say so); AM (not moving by logic); MM (almost impossible to move due to Cap hit); and WW (logical move….. much lower Cap hit , and cash AAV ~ $5M per for balance of term)

        GO LEAFS GO

  4. Probably one of the most important issues facing Bruins hockey is the inaction on behalf of those nincompoops in front the office Mutt and Jeff they make more in one week than I do in an entire year. If I screwed up as much as they did I’d be fired in about a day. Going into the season with what they have right now is disastrous!

  5. Dont know much about Hamilton, but I do remember seeing him play against Washington last season or the one before that and when he was going up against Wilson in the corner he let Wilson take the puck without battle, basically he looked afraid. Now I Wilson can be nasty but if your afraid in Hockey and show it you have a problem.

  6. Leafs are a great roster and one of the betting odds favorites in Vegas for a reason. No weaknesses in regular season. In a cdn division they will easily have the widest gap to 2nd place. Of any division. NOT.EVEN.CLOSE. haters.

    • Hi Wendel, that widest gap, is that a reference between cup wins? Just wondering.

      • No thats the sens at a century plus and no end in sight but I dont recall you ever posting anything factual so why start now.

      • Wendel the dreamer, keep dreaming Wendel.

    • Fanduel shows them as 6th, at 16-1. I’m not sure I’d call that ‘one of the favorites’. Certainly in the mix, and yes, the highest of the Canadian teams, but not ‘one of the favorites’. Maybe your definition encompasses more teams than mine.

  7. The Stars have Hintz and Seguin injured..what about Lindell to Toronto for Nylander?..salaries work and Leafs need a solid Dman.

    • I dont think they r going to need to add any more D. They have lots of depth for injuries and have added 2 top 4 dmen this off season for under 6M combined. They just need Andersen to be traded or injured before playoffs and they will win cup.

  8. Marner and Kerfoot for Eichel

    • Hard pass from Buffalo on that….. a marshmellow and a slug for a #1 center?

    • …and combined $4.5M more expensive, at that.