NHL Rumor Mill – November 23, 2020

by | Nov 23, 2020 | Rumors | 29 comments

The latest on the Hurricanes and Leafs plus recent speculation about Zdeno Chara’s future in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti wondered if the Carolina Hurricanes will upgrade their goaltending and if they’ll sign defenseman Dougie Hamilton. Netminders Petr Mrazek and James Reimer are unrestricted free agents next summer, as is Hamilton.

Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Dougie Hamilton (NHL Images).

Gulitti noted Mrazek’s and Reimer’s contract status, pointing out questions linger over whether the Hurricanes need better goaltending to win the Stanley Cup. General manager Don Waddell said he’s “very comfortable” sticking with his goalie tandem through this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Mrazek and Reimer weren’t bad last season plus their combined $6.25 million cap hit makes them very affordable for the Hurricanes. Nevertheless, neither goalie has really ever stood out as a starter.

The Hurricanes will stick with this duo for the upcoming season but could go shopping for help if one or both struggle before the trade deadline. Waddell could also be in the market for an upgrade next summer if Mrazek and Reimer fail to carry the club deep into the playoffs.

The Hurricanes would like to sign Hamilton before the start of the season to remove any questions about his future with the franchise. However, the flattened salary cap and economic impact of the coronavirus could affect those efforts. Waddell isn’t ruling out a long-term deal but isn’t ruling out a short-term contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates Hamilton’s in the final year of a six-year, $34.5 million contract with an annual average value of $5.75 million. He could be receptive to a short-term deal but salary and no-trade protection could be the main issues. The Hamilton camp could seek a significant raise for their client, perhaps as high as $8 million annually if he has another Norris-worthy performance.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Maple Leafs lack a typical third-line center. While they have Joe Thornton and Alex Kerfoot, “Thornton can’t play 200-foot hockey anymore and can’t be counted on to play in the defensive zone. Kerfoot is a better winger than he is a centre.” Simmons feels the combination of the two will test head coach Sheldon Keefe’s ability to manage in-games throughout the season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It could also force Leafs GM Kyle Dubas to seek help before the trade deadline if it becomes a significant issue.

Simmons also wonders if the fact Zdeno Chara still hasn’t signed with the Boston Bruins is an indication the big defenseman is packing it in.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Perhaps, though his agent recently said his client is waiting to see what the format for next season looks like. A shortened schedule with limited travel could be to the 43-year-old Chara’s liking.


  1. Re Chara and

    “ A shortened schedule with limited travel could be to the 43-year-old Chara’s liking.”

    Yep 👍

    Chara a Bruin or a retiree in ‘21

    ‘Canes shouldn’t wait too long to extend Hamilton

    • I suspect that we won’t have a 2020-2021 hockey season. Some governors have mandated that all sports played indoors must wear masks.

      Could the Toronto Maple Leafs have an interest in Claude Giroux to fill their need for a 3rd line center?

      • Hi Lou

        Most teams would love CG as 3C; but he’s not moving on from Phi ; and no way Leafs can afford (Cap-wise) him

        If they are worried about Jumbo’s 200’ game as 3C; they could go with Spezz who is 4 years younger; and who had better PPG, GPG, and far better +/-

        Just throwing out that option

      • Leafs are already in cap hell, how the heck can they afford to have a 3 C making $8.275 mill per year?

      • Claude Giroux is a 3rd line center?!?

      • CanadianKing – where there’s a will there’s a way was the answer I usually got when I raised similar questions

    • Good morning


      Chara doesn’t want to quit just yet ..with a short season 1 more year makes sense to me as I was of the mind set he would have played regardless of a short season, guess its just a matter of where …at his point he my as well just stay in Boston and finish up there…but not to long ago there was a Rumor discussed here he might go to Pitt for this year only !


      Due to Hamilton being traded around the past few years ..and the new climate I think the Canes can get away with a $6 million AAv to give security to him ..but I don’t think it goes past $6.5 IMO
      ..sure he had a good year ..there is also a reason he got moved around so much to …and is STILL is in the rumor mill even in his best season!


      I have been saying this for years that the Leafs 3rd line Center is a major issue for this team..it has always lacked size and skill and a means to wear teams down ..it has been a major major issue especially in a series…Iam not so sure tis is the year now that they can course correct with a significant player there as they have no money unless they make a deal …BUT this is a very important position to fill appropriately !

      Anyway you cut it they do not have a POWE FORWARD on the team ..Simmonds used to be one in his hay day ..Hyman is TRYING to be one but is not a complete package as he is not threat on the score sheet …Nylander Mathews and Tavares are just not those players either …and this is the Achilles heal of the why the Leafs will not go any where again ..IMO …

      the last 6 teams in this year playoffs all had a very strong and powerful fore check and players that played strong and physical ..leafs just do not pass the smell test on this aspect oh what it takes to get to the final 4 …especially with Nylander doing his GIG ….UGGGGGG 🙁

      I have [posted extensively on the breakdown both long term and short term about the Kadri deal to Avs and the Marleau deal to the Canes that were both devastating to the Leafs both long term and short term

      …its actually unreal …mind boggling and asinine when you look at what they lost in both those deals and then not getting anything for Barrie at the deadline last year …just so mismanaged !

      Cheers ..take care ..be well…

      • Hyman had 37 points in 51 games last season. I think he’s more of a scoring threat than you’re giving him credit for.

      • @ Cucumber kid

        Please don’t get me wrong ..Hyman is a decent player ..BUT ..he’s not one of the leagues elite power forwards …sorry…I have to be critical and unbiased as leaf fan ..he’s a quality second liner on any team…he has gathered up points when he plays with Matthews and Tavares as his Centres as almost anyone else would …I value his position and play on the Leafs and he fits in really well…he’s just not elite…he is the LEAFS ONLY power forward ..yes.


      • My first thought when I read the Hamilton-Norris Trophy candidate line…I have always been bothered by offensive men rewarded, even if they are not the best at defending.
        My thoughts exactly as yours that you don’t get traded so many times if you are a big defender who defensively play big.
        And he is not there yet.
        Since the Carolina owner Thomas Dundon was saying, ” We won’t be drafting defense in the first round as long as I’m here. I’ve got to have more offense, I want to lose five to four, not two to one. If we lose five to four, at least I’ll have fun.”
        I guess he WILL pay a big finesse defender if he generates the attack…when we all want too see more prowess and snarl form the big boys, as the playoffs are full of occasions where you want your defenders to answer with edge.

    • Chara to the Leafs for league minimum.


  2. The Canes are close . One of the dark horse picks from Covid Cup that didn’t quite pan out coming up against Boston round one . I think you have to keep Hamilton around $7m.

    • I think Hamilton gets $8M if he has another really good year.
      May not be from the Canes, but he will get $8M.
      Canes look good on the ice and aren’t too bad for crappy contracts.
      Would likely want a redo on Gardiner.
      But if they want to keep Hamilton, somebody else needs to go as Svechnikov needs a new deal as well.

      Interesting decisions ahead.

  3. It’s believe that Chara is waiting to see what the NL setup is and how it’s laid out. His family is his first priority.

    The Dougie Hamilton signing will likely have a large portion of it in signing bonuses as that money depending on when paid out can be protected for escrow increases.

  4. Leafs do not need a 3C or anything aside from a new goalie to win the cup. The leafs 3C is extra shifts for tavares and AM34 if Thorton or Spezza or Kerfoot need a breather at 3 or 4 c. Looks like best centre ice position in the entire league to me. Simmonds is clueless.

    • I gotta disagree with you in net. Anderson is the best goalie in Blue since Belfour. The problem was always in front of him. I did not see a better option out there.

  5. “Simmons also wonders if the fact Zdeno Chara still hasn’t signed with the Boston Bruins is an indication the big defenseman is packing it in.”

    I guess it’s good that Simmons is at least consistent in just making things up with no basis for his opinion.

    Maybe Chara is waiting to find out if his favourite hot dog stand will be around during the season…

  6. Would the Blues’ Bozak be an option for 3C in Toronto?? Maybe for Kerfoot or Hyman with the Blues retaining some salary.

    • Hi Iowa Prince

      Blues over Cap now so they would be tapping the LTIR space for any retention (which would be necessary)

      I don’t see Leafs parting with Hyman

      Kerfoot…. would mean 30% retention (on Boz) to make it work ….. zero Cap change either team

      Kerfoot has 3 years left; Boz UFA after this year

      Kerfoot younger

      But Boz numbers 13-16-29 in 67 GPs (compared to Kerfoot: 9-19-28 in 65 on a more offensive team) and Boz way better on the Dot; Boz then would be a better option for Leafs in the 2021 season; and adds flex in the 21/22 season when Boz no longer there

      I’d do it

      Not sure if Army and/or GMKD sign off in that

      Could then Leafs 4th line be Jumbo, Spezz, Simmonds (with average age if 37)?

      Certainly would be a big line… averaging 6’3”, 210

      Leafs, IMHO, still not Cup ready…. every move needs to be geared towards 21/22

      • Add to that flip (Boz /Kerfoot) and add to today’s topic (Hamilton)…..

        Holl/WW to ‘Canes for


        Leafs then with TJ, AM, Boz, Jumbo down the Centre

        and top 4 on back end of:

        Hamilton; Reilly; Muzzin; Brodie;

        with bottom pairing/7th of Dermott; Sandin; Lehtonen….

        That’s a much better line up

  7. Why is anyone listening, better yet why is symmons still writing or on tv?????

    • Because, unlike a lot of so-called sports journalists, he tells his readers what they OUGHT to hear as opposed to the flattering what they WANT to hear

  8. There’s no rush on Chara. Besides fact that league hasn’t decided on anything for sure (start date, training camps, divisions, venues) add to that if he goes back to Boston for one last chance at a cup, what are they doing? They havnt replaced Krug and if there is Jan. 1st start date, they probably won’t have Marchand and Pasta.

  9. According to some reports the NHL and the NHLPA are discussing raising the cap or allowing an exemption for this season only.

    This would be the sweetener that the players want to allow more cash to be deferred.

    With so many players unsigned and so many teams up against the Cap, this makes sense to me.

    It makes very little sense to keep the Cap this low in this time of economic uncertainty.

    I think that we might have just found the answer.

    I also would like to know why my posts are being monitored by Lyle. It seems he has to approve them before they get published.

    Why is that?
    Because I am an American in a sea of Canadians?
    I would like an explanation.

  10. Debrusk just signed a 2 year bridge extension. 3.675mil for 2 years. Sweeney is a superb negotiator. His drafting needs work, but he signs guys for exceptional value.

  11. Shoreorrpark
    I’d say DeBrusk did pretty good on a bridge deal. He didn’t have arb rights, so Boston could’ve played hardball. Add to that, contract is 4.85 in 2nd year. Considering he’ll still be an rfa but with arb rights when this deal is up, pretty sure Boston has to offer at least 10% over that 4.85 if they go to arb.

    • I’d say it’s a great deal for both player and team. I’m happy with it.

    • Slick62 you are correct, and that is why the deal works for Debrusk. Still a good deal for both sides.