NHL Rumor Mill – November 28, 2020

by | Nov 28, 2020 | Rumors | 34 comments

Will the Blue Jackets shop for a scoring forward? Who could become trade bait if the Sharks become a lottery team again? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NHL.COM: Tom Gulitti wondered if the Columbus Blue Jackets will add a scoring forward before the start of 2020-21. It will depend upon the cost of re-signing Pierre-Luc Dubois because they’d prefer to know how much salary-cap space they’ll have once the 22-year-old center is under contract.

Could the Columbus Blue Jackets attempt to sign Mike Hoffman? (NHL Images)

The Jackets have an opening on their second line with winger Gustav Nyquist out 5-6 months recovering from shoulder surgery. They’ll explore internal options but general manager Jarmo Kekalainen didn’t rule out signing a forward if the right opportunity presents itself and they have the flexibility to do so. Wingers Mike Hoffman and Mikael Granlund remain available in the unrestricted free-agent market.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Gretz cited NHL insider Elliotte Friedman recently saying the Jackets tried to move forward Brandon Dubinsky’s contract. Friedman also speculated they could be among the clubs that looked at Hoffman and/or Granlund.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: As per Cap Friendly, the Jackets have over $9.2 million in cap space. That’s more than enough to re-sign Dubois. Kekalainen has downplayed how long it’s taking to get the center signed, pointing out many notable RFAs usually aren’t signed until close to training camp.

Assuming it costs $6 million annually to sign Dubois, the Jackets would have around $3 million to add an affordable forward. They could get additional wiggle room to exceed the cap by placing Nyquist and his $5.5 million annual average value on long-term injury reserve, though they’d have to shed salary to become cap compliant if he returns during the season.

Kekalainen also hinted earlier in the offseason that Dubinsky ($5.85 million) could also end up on LTIR owing to a nagging wrist injury. Perhaps he’ll try to trade Dubinsky’s contract to a cap-strapped club in hopes of landing something worthwhile in return.

Hoffman reportedly seeks a one-year contract between $5.5 million and $6.5 million. His agent claimed 13 teams expressed various degrees of interest in his client. Most could be playing the waiting game hoping he’ll drop his asking price. The Jackets could be among them. Granlund might be a more affordable option.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Kevin Kurz was asked which member of the San Jose Sharks could be traded (apart from Brent Burns or Marc-Edouard Vlasic) if they’re a lottery club in 2020-21.

He doesn’t see any circumstance under which the Sharks would trade Tomas Hertl. Burns has a three-team trade list and Vlasic a full no-movement clause, making it very difficult to attempt to move either player. Kurz, however, speculates Burns might be open to moving if he believes the Sharks will struggle for the next couple of seasons, “especially with his beard buddy (Joe Thornton) now in Toronto.”

If the Sharks become sellers, Kurz feels the most likely trade candidates are pending UFAs like Devan Dubnyk, Stefan Noesen, Matt Nieto, Marcus Sorensen or maybe Patrick Marleau again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sharks GM Doug Wilson is counting on his club to stage a bounce-back performance and be a playoff contender this season. If they’re not, the UFA selloff will begin as the deadline approaches. I agree with Kurz that they won’t move Hertl. I also doubt Burns and Vlasic will be going anywhere.

If Burns agreed to be moved his contract and age work against him. He turns 36 in March, his production dropped sharply last season (from 83 points in 2018-19 to just 45 in 70 games) and he’s carrying an $8 million AAV for five more years. Unless the Sharks agreed to pick up a healthy chunk of his cap hit, I don’t see many clubs agreeing to take on that contract. The same goes for the 33-year-old Vlasic and his $7 million AAV for six more years.


  1. 45 points for a defenseman on a bad team isn’t too shabby …

  2. I dislike the Marner contract too much money too soon, It was a mistake in my opinion. But I would rather err with a young player as you can more easily trade that contract than an older player on too much money and time.

    Andrew Ladd, a couple of contracts in Minnesota and Montreal, Burns and Vlassic in San Jose and others in the league. You have to win early in those contracts to justify them. Paying for past performance is not in the teams interest.

    As a Leaf fan being optimistic the Tavarres contract won’t fall in that category as they might win while he can contribute. Do I believe that? Not really unless they make a trade or two from the big four upfront contracts and get value back. The Kadri trade was not a indicator that Dubas can do that.

    Big contracts to old players. A dangerous game no matter who play it.

    • OBD. In 1st 2 years of Burns contract Sharks won 16 playoff games. Leafs lost in 1st round of Tavares 1st season and lost playin this year, which really wasn’t a playoff series. Leafs barely held a spot when season was stopped. Even counting that series they’ve won 5 playoff games with JT. They had 7 more wins than SJ in shortened season. Sharks had a bad year with a lot of injury issues. Not saying they’re contenders. But also I don’t get the assumption that Leafs are when they havnt had much success.

      • Slick, Toronto plays in a meat grinder of a division. If they best one of Tampa Bay or Boston they have to play the other in the next round. No wonder they have so few playoff wins. If this Canadian division happens it’ll be the best thing for them.

      • Tavares is a terrible contract his foot speed is on he decline, that is one of the worst contracts in the league along with the rangers paying a winger 11.5 million. The rangers are following in the leafs footsteps no defence and overpaid forwards

      • Says the fan of a team that traded a better dman and a first and than signed the worse dman to way too much money and have 1 cup in the last 80 years! Maybe it’s you who shouldn’t be talking 💩 about any other team in the league………just saying.

      • 😀🍿🎆

    • Hi OBD

      With you…. move on of the top 4 and balance the team out (from 1/2 Cap spent on 4 forwards)….. and that massively moves the probability needle for a cup

      They won’t move AM and basically can’t move the captain (all in his control).

      So it’s :

      MM (5 left @$ 10.6 M Cap and effective $7 M cash AAV per remaining; but almost all in SBs that can’t be clawed back with escrow);or

      WW (4 left at just shy of $7M Cap, cash AAV of about $5M per, but with close to equal Sal and SB left owed; much more can be culled by escrow)

      WW’s contract is easier to move and many more teams can fit him in

      I’d love to see WW and Holl for Hamilton and Foegle

      Yes Hamilton is UFA after this year….. but WW’s $7M space is gone …. not far off what Hamilton will likely sign for

      I’m certainly not saying Foegle directly replaces WW’s output; but great grit (WW lacks) and size added

      Leafs net over $1M in space this year; become far tougher; way better defensively

      Canes get good offence coming in at reasonable contract terms for 4 more years ; and a 3RD locked for 3 more years; give up two players currently under contract for only this upcoming season

      • Should have been $10.9 M cap not $10.6 M cap for MM

    • OBD, take heart. Luke Fox says: “Toronto will roll out Canada’s most talented roster.”

      I laugh at that analysis as indicating insanity, pandering to the Toronto audience, or a serious substance abuse problem.

      But I do think that a shorter season will favour the likes of Thornton and Spezza. Yes.

      • But IF there is no season at all you have to wonder how will that affect the likes of Thornton and Spezza and others like them getting up there in years who will be one year older and presumably no faster.

      • George, I share some of your sentiments regarding covid – specifically the need for prevention and good citizenry to protect ourselves and others.

        But it is November outside my window, the most wretched month of the year. Remember what was left after Pandora’s box was opened and all manner of scourge was released: hope.

        Try and dredge up some hope, old sport.

      • 🙂 for me anyway, LJ, practicality and realism always superseded “hope” – which – to me anyway – is a one-word synonym for “wishful-thinking” and a totally useless emotion. Hope is not a plan of action – something our federal government lacks.

      • Wow George. That was depressing.

      • Montreal….hahahahaha.

      • Nah, Chrisms, just good old Irish stoicism 🙂

  3. I didn’t know about Dubinsky’s wrist injury being at a level to put him on LTIR

    Is it serious enough to keep him out ALL season? If so, then he is tradable.

    Otherwise, at nearing $6M in Cap, even though UFA; moving him will be a tough sell.

    Re Hoffman… Panthers still at 19 on roster, CapFriendly only showing 10 forwards (plus RFA Saarlela); and $8.3 M in space…. the door for Hoffman coming back may be closing but it is not shut

  4. Dubois same as Point and Tkachuk

  5. Columbus swapped Anderson ( who didn’t play most of last season) for Domi. They added Koivu in FA. They’re currently showing a roster of 22. Dubois will make it 23. Even if both Dubinsky and Nyquist go to ltir, they also have Foudy, Bernstein and Texier that aren’t listed on roster. I don’t really see room to add anyone. Not really necessary. All 3 of those young guys played in playoffs. I’d think 2 of them would be added to roster after moving other guys to ltir.

    • Excellent point Slick62

      I was very impressed with Texier and Foudy in the playoffs

      To be honest; I don’t remember Bernstein so I can’t comment on him

      • Pengy, CBJ are very high on Texier, Foudy, & Bemstrom. They are also have a lot of belief in Peeke and Carlsson taking the next step on D.

    • Factor in economics with Columbus, Slick. Forbes ranks the value of the Blue Jackets at #29, and you know that has to be linked to revenue.

      Given that all teams will lose money playing I seriously doubt Columbus will add to their losses by adding a player, period.

      And given no team is sure which division it will end up in it makes assessing playoff chances the list of reasons to reduce spending keeps mounting.

  6. Can someone please explain this?

    Perhaps he’ll try to trade Dubinsky’s contract to a cap-strapped club in hopes of landing something worthwhile in return.

    So if he trades Dubinsky to Tampa for instance, what is the benefit for them, as in Tampa

  7. Slick :

    I was not implying the Leafs are contenders nor saying they are not. I was taken back by the fact that Burns is 36 years old and has 5 years to run on a costly contract.

    What I was trying to say was that if I were to have a bad contract I would rather have it to a young player which in the Leaf situation. Their bad contracts are to young players. The exception of Tavarres’s contract which as he was a UFA is more understandable but it will be in 2 o3 years probably a bad contact.

    I did not know and appreciate learning that the Sharks did well after giving out some of those contracts. .

    • Even the marner contract won’t be easy to move way to much money for what he brings, will have to throw in a pick or prospect

      • Bigbadhabcontracts is making no sense again!

    • OBD. No problems. Hope you don’t feel like I was attacking you. Just felt like Burns has earned his money. He’s 35, and making 3 million a year less than JT. Hasn’t missed a game in last 6 seasons and shows no signs of aging. Contract also front loaded and actual salary will be going down every year after this.

  8. Greetings All…Dubinsky hasn’t played a game since the Boston playoff series in 2019. He is eligible to be placed on LTIR and the word here in CBus is they are willing to do so but clearly prefer the trade option per LJ’s observation on financial considerations. The buzz is CBJ are still looking to add a scoring F but prefer to do so via trade than UFA. Portzline reported they are out on Hoffman but Friedman recently said there is still interest so it’s hard to decipher. Jarmo has publicly stated they do not have an internal cap but there are some whispers otherwise….If they aren’t constrained by an internal cap, keep an eye on them both before and during the season. If teams ultimately are looking to make moves due cap pressure (preseason) and/or underwhelming starts (in season) the belief among connected folks here is CBJ will be active. Just what I’m hearing here….

    • Tatar for Texier.


  9. Tavares stats in his 2 years with Leafs are better than they ever were with NYI. It will continue to be an excellent contract to the end when his last couple years will be as LW beside AM34 (think Luc Robitaille).

    Leafs have best roster in NHL hands down.

    • The best roster that can’t even win a playoff round, the leafs bottom 6 is old and slow and that defence wow just plain bad

    • Stats are for losers.
      Just win baby

  10. Wendel17higgins, put down the crackpipe and stop sniffing glue.the leafs do not have the best roster in toronto let alone the entire nhl. they are an extremely imbalanced Squad and the Marlies are a better TEAM, How many years in a row must they get Knocked on their asses in the first round before you realise that They dont play as a team.They are a group of me first, offense only pretenders.

    until they learn that Teamwork involves sacrificing individual goals for team goals, this team will finish as a loser, same as it has since 1967

    • They got knocked on their butts in the play-in round last year, not even qualifying for the first round…..yet these fools say they are the “best roster in the NHL”!