NHL Rumor Mill – December 14, 2020

by | Dec 14, 2020 | Rumors | 35 comments

Breaking down some potential moves to watch as the 2020-21 season inches closer in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Ryan Dixon examined five lingering issues that must be addressed before the project Jan. 13 start to the 2020-21 NHL season.

The respective salary-cap crunches facing the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vegas Golden Knights and New York Islanders dominated the list.

The Lightning sits just above the $81.5 million salary cap and must sign restricted free agent center Anthony Cirelli. Dixon observed some trade speculation arose earlier this fall suggesting Steven Stamkos could become a trade candidate. However, the captain’s full no-trade clause and the limited number of teams that could afford his $8.25 million annual average value pretty much rules out trading him. Winger Alex Killorn (16-team no-trade list, $4.5 million AAV) remains a possible cap casualty.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Lightning’s recent signing of defenseman Mikhail Sergachev prompted conjecture they could have a cost-cutting deal in hand but it has yet to materialize.

They also attempted to shed salary by putting winger Tyler Johnson ($5 million AAV) on waivers in early October but couldn’t find any takers. He also has a full no-trade but reportedly submitted a list of eight or nine potential destinations to Lightning management.

Vegas Golden Knights winger Max Pacioretty (NHL Images).

The Golden Knights are also just above the salary cap, prompting rumors they could be shopping a high-salaried player such as Max Pacioretty, Marc-Andre Fleury and Jonathan Marchessault. General manager Kelly McCrimmon said Fleury won’t be traded while team owner Bill Foley recently dismissed the Pacioretty rumors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Golden Knights could move an expensive veteran. Then again, they could also trade or demote a lower-salaried depth player to become cap compliant before the start of the season.

The Islanders still haven’t signed RFA center Mathew Barzal. They will get some cap relief by placing defenseman Johnny Boychuk (eye injury) and his $6 million AAV on long-term injury reserve. Dixon took note of GM Lou Lamoriello’s failed attempt at this year’s trade deadline to ship winger Andrew Ladd to Minnesota for Zach Parise. He wondered if Lamoriello might try to package Ladd with a sweetener to a rebuilding team with the cap space to take on the winger’s $5.5 million AAV.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Anything’s possible, but it could take one heckuva sweetener to convince a rebuilding team to acquire Ladd. While Dixon cited the 35-year-old winger’s experience and leadership, age and injuries have significantly affected his performance.

Dixon also noted the trade rumors swirling around Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine and the Arizona Coyotes’ attempt to trade defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets aren’t in any hurry to move Laine, whose agent suggested earlier this fall it might be beneficial for both sides if his client was moved to a team where he’d get first-line minutes. The winger has a year remaining on his contract and becomes a restricted free agent with arbitration rights next summer. That doesn’t mean GM Kevin Cheveldayoff won’t trade Laine but he’ll seek a significant return, such as perhaps a top-pairing defenseman.

Ekman-Larsson was willing to waive his no-movement clause for the Boston Bruins and Vancouver Canucks. However, attempts to move him fell through before his self-imposed deadline of Oct. 9.

The Coyotes captain insisted he’s happy in Arizona and wasn’t upset by the club exploring trade options. Nevertheless, this could resurface if the Bruins or Canucks make a pitch to the Coyotes’ liking, provided he’d be willing to waive his clause before the season begins.


  1. Crazy times.

    • I expect business will pick up once the start dates for training camps and the regular season are officially announced.

  2. Let’s hope Jan 13 start date sticks.

  3. Don’t know if it will happen but it looks like the only way the Bruins get a LD which is really needed is if the trade Carlo to get one…. right now with Brad & Pasta on the mend they can’t afford to trade a winger

    • I wouldn’t trade Carlo.
      If the season takes place, it’s gonna be a crazy one with Marchy and Pasta on the IR.
      They need guys to prevent goals and he’s one of the best defenders in the game.
      I say let it ride and see what happens. No need for panic moves in a shortened season.
      Carlo is a foundational piece, like Charlie and Pasta. You need those youngsters to build around now that the existing core is on the back nine.
      It should be a wild ride……..providing there is a start and finish to the season.
      Again, I’m hopeful but not optimistic.

      • Thats one wobbly foundation if carlo is a main pier. Lol. Bruins are falling like a sack of wet cement not be be heard from again this decade. Lol.

      • 1967

      • Lol

        Looking back :

        TML 13 cups
        Sad sack Bruins 6

        Looking forward:

        TML tracking for this year or next

        Bruins are further away from another cup than every teM except MTL given the mismanagement and tear down that will take years. Think 2067 for Bruins.

        Lol how horrible to be a bruins fan for the next decade plus.

        Oh yeah plus you have Brad Park in your name when everyone associates him with the Rangers, lol

      • Habs – 24 Cups – almost twice as many as TML

        Hell, Ottawa has won the cup 11 times … and they weren’t in the league for 58 years between their first and second incarnations!

      • I certainly do respect your unbridled optimism, Wendel. You’re opinion doesn’t mean much, but by golly it’s yours to have.
        How long do you think before Kyle figures out you need defense to win championships?
        Think he clues in before he trades Willy for magic beans and Austin leaves as a FA(in 4 short years)?
        I’d bet the farm against it.
        Keep flinging chit, son. Something will stick eventually.

      • How about Carlo and ? for
        Zack Werensky ….CBJ have Jones to run their PP Carlo settles the D down

      • I’ve heard of delusional…. but what is after that? Pretty sure we can just say someone is wendel, if we want to clarify it!

    • I never understand why so many people on here write Chara off as a solution for the Bruins on LD. Other then the fact he is stealing playing time away from a younger player to progress at the NHL level (to which most people want a trade of bring in a veteran anyways), he gets you a few points, one of the best penalty killers in the NHL due to size, top 10 in plus/minus and the leader of the team.

      He has to take less money to allow for other moves, but the Bruins need to shed Moore’s contract to help in that regard and allow someone like Lauzon or Vakk come up and get that experience playing behind him on the LD side.

      Giving up Carlo for Hanifin (at a higher cap hit) makes no sense to me.

      • Agree 100%!
        I’d marry Chara today if my wife would give me a pass.
        I’m on record for saying he can play for the Bruins until he’s 50 if he chooses to.
        To you’re point of Carlo for Hanifin. That’s not a trade I’d be willing to make. I like Hanifin, but Carlo does more for me as a shut down defender.

    • I wouldn’t write Chara off either G.Gonzo, I think SOP would likely be on board with that as well.
      We should find out soon enough whether or not he plans to play again. I really have no idea what he will do given the circumstances, short season etc.
      Zboril gets every shot to make the team as well.
      Perhaps a PTO for some other vets for depth.
      If in the hunt come TDL, maybe make a move then.

      • I 100% agree on Zoboril. I know Caper has written some very positive things with regards to the evolution of game so why not bring him up if he is ready.

    • Hi Joe

      As a Leafs/Pens fan…. Bruins trading Carlo sounds great….. but they shouldn’t consider this.

      To me..,, Carlo has a very bright future

      • Martinez to Boston for Kuraly. He replaces Chara. Could be considered a youth movement!

      • I’d pass on that one, Slick.

      • How about Martinez for Moore SOP?
        Chara comes back, all set.

      • I’d do that, Ray. I’m not a fan of John Moore. (Sorry Mrs. Moore)
        I’d always pegged him as expansion fodder for Seattle.
        Time to integrate some of the kids into the line up with Chara as mentor.

  4. Read this morning that decisions on season will be made between today and Wednesday. Players are already flying back from Europe. (Joe Thornton posted today he’s heading to Toronto) If camps are set to open after Christmas, that’s only about 2 weeks away! I think we’ll see some trades this week. All eyes on Tampa?

    • Leafs can help TB by taking Stammer (only team he would agree to) with 50 % retained for a couple of mid round picks. They can then move out Kerfoot and micheyev to recoup the picks and free up the cap space.

      TB is in that much cap trouble this may be their best move as they wont have to give up any 1st rounders. And they r not in same division this year.


      • LOL. Now THAT is funny – and accurate!

      • Dubas actually landed a better defenseman than AP in lehtonen for almost 8m less per. It ok to be wrong when we hit the jackpot !!!. Matthews is better than McDavid. Goals scorers are far more important. Just like Ovi is clearly better than Crosby to any non biased dummy.

      • Keep rolling your eyes, Wendell – who knows, you might even find a brain back there

      • LOL. I just make the statements defining what a dummy is and these linear thinkers George and NY4 trip over each other to be first to identify themselves as such. Too funny. Craig’s chairmanship of the LTC is in peril!

      • Another recess, eh Wendell?

      • I would like to hear Wendel explain how he isn’t a linear thinker with regards to the Leafs. Or how Dubas isn’t.
        Not sure he really understands what it means, but that is just a guess.

      • He’s also conveniently ignored Stamkos’ “get me the hell outta here …” (or words to that effect) to his agent after the idiotic fawning by TO city council and other hero-worshippers who were drooling all over him when he was exploring his UFA status a few seasons back. Smart move Eric.

  5. I still don’t get them continuing to mention moving Patches

    1 exodus (and relatively simple at that) needed …, Martinez. Then bring up Hague.

    Petro + Hague ; better than Schmidt + Martinez IMHO; and slightly less Cap hit for Petro/Hague

    Do the Martinez out/ Hague up…

    Leaves $2.2 M for 2 depth Fwds

    Martinez does not have trade protection … so it’s just the sweetener that needs to be discussed

    He grew up very close to Detroit

    NJ’s 2nd as sweetener?

  6. Bring back the Quebec Nordiques! Statsny Brothers drop the first puck 🙂

    • They are on the way back to town. They are currently just 200 miles and change to the west. ETA 2023 at latest.

    • No way that happens tony. Houston or Portland would be my guesses if I was betting

  7. I’ll bet you have remarkable luck when you toss your line in the lake Wendell. You got a knack.