NHL Rumor Mill – December 28, 2020

by | Dec 28, 2020 | Rumors | 14 comments

A look at some bold predictions for 2021 in the NHL Rumor Mill.

SPORTSNET: Over the weekend, Luke Fox made some bold NHL predictions for 2021. Some of them involved possible trades and free-agent moves.

Will Alex Ovechkin re-sign with the Washington Capitals? (NHL Images)

Fox believes Alex Ovechkin will reach a four-year contract extension with the Washington Capitals, perhaps accepting a slight pay cut to stay with the only NHL team he’s ever played for.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be shocked if Ovechkin and the Capitals fail to reach an agreement on a new contract before his current deal expires next summer.

Taylor Hall “explodes offensively” skating alongside Jack Eichel this season with the Buffalo Sabres. However, Fox predicts Hall will chase his Stanley Cup dreams elsewhere as the Sabres’ poor goaltending turns them once again into an also-ran.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t say I disagree with that prediction. However, that could change if the Sabres actually reach the playoffs.

Fox expects the Winnipeg Jets will trade Patrik Laine at some point in 2021. He’s a restricted free agent next summer with arbitration rights and the Jets don’t have enough dollars to keep Laine in the fold.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s been plenty of Laine trade speculation since early September, with his agent at one point suggesting it would be mutually beneficial for both sides if the young sniper was moved. If that comes to pass, the issue for Jets management is finding a suitable return. They could use a proven right-side, top-pairing defenseman.

Fox suggests the Ottawa Senators should expose recently-acquired goalie Matt Murray in next summer’s expansion draft and protect emerging netminder Filip Gustavsson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: My guess is they’ll expose Marcus Hogberg in the draft unless Murray plays poorly this season.

Dougie Hamilton could be leaving the Carolina Hurricanes via trade or in next summer’s UFA market. He’s due for a significant raise but there’s no indication the two sides are close to agreement on an extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Much will depend upon Hamilton’s asking price and where the Hurricanes are in the standings by the April 12 trade deadline.

Tyson Barrie could be reinvigorated with the Edmonton Oilers and earn a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox points out Adam Larsson comes off the Oilers’ books next summer, freeing up sufficient cap space for Barrie. A solid performance could keep him in Edmonton beyond this season.

Fox also predicts Montreal Canadiens center Phillip Danault could get squeezed out by young centers Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, forcing him to seek work elsewhere via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t rule out that possibility. Suzuki and Kotkaniemi played very well during last summer’s playoffs. If those performances carry over into this season, Danault could see third-line duty with the Habs. He doesn’t see himself in that role and I doubt he’d be willing to accept it on a permanent basis to stay in Montreal.

Arizona Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson could expand his list of preferred trade destinations.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Boston and Vancouver were the only clubs on Ekman-Larsson’s preferred trade destination list. The Coyotes couldn’t swing a deal before his deadline of Oct.9. The Coyotes captain maintains he loves living and playing in Arizona. We’ll see if management tries again to shop him following this season.


  1. I still think Danault re-signs in Montreal. Depth at center is still very important and in the current climate, I don’t see a better option presenting itself for either the team or the player. Also, with no preseason games and a brief training camp, Julien is still likely to keep him with Tatar and Gallagher, giving him decent minutes.

    • I think with at least 3 no# 2 lines
      There will be no clear cut number 1 line it will depend on what line is clicking so Danault is either A,B or C center he will be happy with his playing time

    • Also, Kotkaniemi didnt play lights out back in Finland this fall, not sure he is a no 1-2 center

  2. Let’s take ’em one at a time … Ovechkin stays with the Caps, no brainer …

    shame on Kevyn Adams for not addressing his poor goaltending, he needs to know that it all starts right there … Hall walks after this season … and Eichel will want to follow …

    how can the Jets not have enough $ for Laine after letting /trading their best 4 defencemen last year??? Horrible job by Chevaldayoff, one of the worst GM’s in the NHL …

    Sens didn;t give up very much for Murray but no way I expose Gustavsson …

    Why can’t Dougie Hamilton find a permanent home?

    Not sure about barrie, that one will have to play itself out …

    and no way Danault is a #1 centre … he is delusional … Bergy will get something back for him that makes sense …

  3. Corey Perry to Montreal. Boy the games between Montreal and Toronto should be fun.

  4. TBay has one more move left , they are currently $15,816,000 over the cap with 20 players signed
    once LTIR kicks in they remove $16,975,000 from the cap putting them at $80,341,666 with 3 players to add.
    I can see them adding Foote + 2 of Volkov, Raddysh, Barre Boulet or Katchouk , roughly ~ 2.5 million.
    Thinking it could be Tyler Johnson on the move with $ retained to free up some additional cap. It would be tough to part with Palat or Killorn given Kucherov is out long term.

    • Hi Fergy… yep after the LTIR dust settles… sitting with $1.16 M in space…. for sure Foote up … Cooper often starts 7 D

      BrisBoise can taxi squad the hell out of it after that…. bringing up needed players only on a game day (and only if absolutely needed… possible nagging injury to a starter… so bring up player for pre-game warm up and play call up if starter can’t go

      If somehow BrisBoise moves TJ and his $5 M Cap hit….. Hoffman it seems per TSN is looking for a contender (currently eyeing signing with Blues)… and per yesterday…. could take 1 year in StL for $3.5 M – $4.5 M

      If TJ gets moved…. that’s $5 M in extra space….. giving $4M to Hoffman in TBay … he then gets more take home than $4.5 M in StL; is on the defending SC winning team…. so big incentive to sign there (Bolts)

      Hoffman’s last years numbers of 29-30-59 ; replace the combined TJ/Pacquette numbers of 21-28-49; and Hoffman comes in at $4M Cap compared to $6.65 M for TJ/Pacquette

      TJ out; Hoffmann in (@ $4M) ; Foote up… leaves $1.24 M …. and two spots open (see taxi squad proposal above) … doable

      ….. but who WILL take TJ? ; is that team one of his list of 5 or 6;? ; and more importantly…. what is the sweetener cost?

      GMs have seen how BrisBoise got the upper hand on Dorion…. I don’t see that happening with another GM

      • Brisbois got upper hand? Sens got 2 players that will suit up, and a 2nd round pick. They can flip either guy at deadline. Tampa got nothing but cap space.

      • @Pengy… W T F is Rutherford doing with all these good players available at bargain prices..????

        Our bottom 6 forward group needs help and we didnt address this at all..

        Eric Haula one year $1.5 million in Nashville..

        Carl soderberg 35 , a solid two way center groomed nicely in the Boston organization .scored 17 goals last year.. signed 1 year $1.0 million with Chicago.

        Anthony Duclair 22 goals last year signed $1.7. 1 year year deal with Columbus.

        Anthansiou signs 1 year $1.2 million. With the Los Angeles kings.

        Anyone of these guys would have helped us in this new division alignment….

        Soderberg 17 goals that’s more than jankowski rodriquez, zack Aston reese and blueger combined..or close..

        We had $1.3 in cap space and with the taxi squad and long term Injury list we could have moved to $3 million in space.

        When the Penguins won 2009 we had jordan stahl, when we won in 2016 2017 we had Nick bonino, when they won in the lemieux era 1991&, 1992 we had martin steals jan hrdina.

        Rutherford has dropped the ball this off season.

        Your thoughts??

        I’m concerned while we got rid of talented teams like Columbus Carolina we get Boston…many predict penguins 5th behind Boston Ny Islanders Philadelphia Washington..

      • Hi BnG

        Hope your festive season is going well

        Yep…. Jimbo massively dropped the ball

        The $1.3 M is actually at least $2M to play with as a player would have to go down from the current 23 to make room for any new player… league min is $700 K….. so really 1.3 + 0.7… 2.0 to acquire a UFA

        So….. Duclair, AA, Haula, Soderberg ….. all were affordable (fit in the Cap) acquisitions… Jimbo asleep at the wheel

        I really wanted Duclair

        3rd line …. he would have been a great add…. him and McC would have worked very well together

        Jimbo again asleep at the wheel

        Nothing really left at Forward on UFA unless Jimbo can jettison a big contract and go after Hoffman (I dream 🤬😡😢)

        So… with shortened season…. strengthen G or D. Nothing out there in Gs…. so…

        Send #2 down (and please don’t even have him on taxi squad !!!! )….. that’s $2 M available to try and get Vats (who can play both sides)

        I think Pens can get in (playoffs)…. but there can’t be any injuries to Sid or Gino; and DeSmith has to play quite a bit above his level… lots of B2Bs

        What are Jimbo’s trade options…. very little

        Try the Bolts route? …. trade with Stevie Y for Zetterberg then sign Hoffman??

        Fingers crossed

  5. Wishing King Henrik all the Best

    • Dido..

    • Me as well

      Safe surgery, speedy and full recovery


      • @Pengy..you to man I hope your holidays are good and safe..

        While I like these three young defensemen invited to camp..

        Pierre Oliver Joseph

        Joshua Maniscalco

        Cam Lee…organization really likes him.

        One solid forward invited to camp Dartmouth Drew O’Connor..

        But we needed to add o e third line player. haula. Duclair or soderberg…anthansiou e en but oh no let’s stick with this bottom six forward group he didnt improve after failing in the playoffs…

        Why do ex penguins sign with the capitals,????

        Jagr got traded there.

        Yet x caps outside of eric fehr ne er come to the burgh..