NHL Rumor Mill – December 29, 2020

by | Dec 29, 2020 | Rumors | 50 comments

Check out the recent Bruins and Canadiens speculation in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa last week reported a league source was uncertain if the Boston Bruins would bring back Zdeno Chara for another season. The source said it feels like they’re waiting to see if anything opens up in the trade market.

Has Zdeno Chara played his final game with the Boston Bruins? (NHL Images)

Shinzawa observed the Bruins have sufficient salary-cap space to bring back Chara, but there are concerns over the 43-year-old defenseman’s performance. His days of logging over 20 minutes per game may be over. The Bruins also want to see how former first-round picks Jakub Zboril and Urho Vaakanainen could complement Matt Grzelcyk, Jeremy Lauzon and John Moore.

Trading for a younger left-side defenseman could be the Bruins’ preference. However, they’ll have to part with assets and try to make the acquisition fit under the cap.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss recently reported Bruins team president Cam Neely last week observed some teams were pressed for cap space and will probably have to do something. He’s sure general manager Don Sweeney is still looking at tweaking or adding to the roster over the next couple of weeks.

Goss noted Sami Vatanen, Ron Hainsey and Travis Hamonic remain available in the free-agent market. He also pointed out the Bruins’ limited prospect pool and cap space could make it difficult to address their needs via trades.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty observes there are reports suggesting the Bruins could be looking at Ben Hutton. The unrestricted free agent had 16 points and plus-minus of plus-five in 65 games last season with the Los Angeles Kings. Haggerty feels the 27-year-old blueliners could be an affordable fit if Zboril, Vaakanainen or Lauzon aren’t ready for prime time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sweeney is catching flak from some Bruins fans for not making any moves in recent weeks. A lack of cap space and suitable options are the sticking points. Nevertheless, there are some intriguing short-term free-agent options that could be had for the right price.

As for Chara, he could return for one last hurrah with the Bruins. However, there’s a growing sense that he could sign elsewhere. His agent claimed last week he’s received inquiries from over 20 teams. The Bruins prefer Chara to play a third-pairing role but that might not be to the big blueliner’s liking.

MONTREAL GAZETTE: Pat Hickey reports the Canadiens’ recent signings of veteran forwards Corey Perry and Michael Frolik pushed the club over the $81.5 million salary cap by $1.1 million. Some decisions will have to be made before the season starts.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players, perhaps even Perry and Frolik, could end up on the Canadiens’ taxi squad, enabling the Habs to be cap compliant when the season opens. Doing so, however, means they’ll have to pass through waivers where they could be claimed by other clubs. Some observers believe GM Marc Bergevin might not be done dealing. We’ll find out over the next couple of weeks.


  1. I get the feeling Bergevin is all in this year. I agree the Habs are always lower than in expectations to start the year my most pundits. Some pundits I hear on Sirius radio have the Habs 5th or 6th in the division while others have them 2nd or 1st I know of 2 who have them 1st Craig Button and Brian Burke

    • I have the same feeling, Leo. I think the moves Bergevin has made have been excellent; filled scoring holes, defensive holes, goaltending needs and now a solid taxi squad for a compressed and demanding schedule.

      Yes I am a Habs fan and I will take any flak going for saying this: the Habs have at present the most balanced and deep line up in Canada.

      • No cdn team is full of bottom 6 forwards and 3rd pair dmen . They can roll 4 lines and 3 set of well balanced garbage. Lol

  2. Perry and Frolik two UFA signings could have been signed by anybody and didn’t have any bites, waivers shouldn’t be a problem.

    They are role players on the Habs without big expectations, net front presence (perry) and pk(frolik)

    Is Boston looking at Vince Dunn?

    • The obvious answer is to send Weal and Byron to the taxi squad.

      If they make it there – it’s a win!

      If they don’t make it there – it’s a win (on the Cap side)!

      lemon squeezy


  3. If Sweeney had not spent money on marginal players first like Moore,Wagner, and especially Miller, he would have had plenty of money to sign a Hoffman or Hall. You sign top players first and then see what is left for lesser players. Sweeney works backwards.

    • Barry, enlighten me on where the $8M for Hall was coming from? The guys you mention would need to be replaced.
      If we didn’t have Moore, we would have 1 LD. One.
      I think you need at least 3.
      No thanks, we need an LD, and even at league minimum that doesn’t leave enough for Hoffman.
      I can see them picking up a gut like Hutton and give one of Zboril or Vaak a chance. Due to experience I will go with Zboril unless he’s been partying back home all winter.
      Big year for Boston with telling decisions coming due at the end of this season with Krecji and Rask.
      I think Sweeney wants to see what this team still has left in the tank.

      • The point is that you would have money to sign a 5-6 million player if not wasted on a 7th or 8th defenseman and a fourth line winger. Still waiting for him to replace Boychuk and now Krug. Sweeney as Executive of the Year was a joke a few years ago. Drafting is a strong point along with some team-friendly contracts that he negotiated but trades and signing fringe players and then being close to the cap are definite weaknesses.

  4. Right on, fans (us) frequently forget that the worst GM knows and lived through more hockey than we have not to mention are fully apprised of details we know nothing about.

    The same fans forget that in most cases every “bum” in the league was a star on his team for a big part of his pre-NHL career.

  5. Today’s quiz:


    What is the most plentiful commodity in the NHL?


    Bottom 6 forwards on MTL. They have a stale bakers dozen by my count. All but Gallagher who is a decent 2nd liner.

    WHAT.A.MESS. lol

    • Anderson, Toffoli, Suzuki, KK, Tatar bottom six??? Do you watch hockey games?

      • Yes, with only Suzuki having 2nd line upside. No players nor prospects that project to be first liners.

        No first liners, 1 second liner , 1 good top 3 d who is in decline a a good goalie also in decline.

        You people that think they are gonna finish ahead of anyone but OTT are gonna look like dumb dumbs.


      • Ed, don’t you know that only forwards who choke in the playoffs belong on the top 2 lines?

        Do you even watch the Maple Leafs??????

      • Ed you seem like you have a balanced opinion unlike another poster on here who’s clearly a Habs fanatic. Tatar, Suzuki (Maybe) and Toffoli are second line players based on there production. Nothing more. Kk averages less than 35 pts over an 82 game season how is that even close to top six production. Even if you use just the play in round where he had 4 points in 10 games only puts him on pace for 35pts over an 82 game season. Anderson has only had 1 season where he’s had over 20 goals and has never had a 50 point season. That is nowhere near top six production. Put them beside any other team in the Canadian division. Vancouver for example you have Petterson, Boeser, Miller, Bo Horvat. Every one of those players tops any habs forward and that’s Vancouver. Compare the top 6 in any of the other teams with open eyes and tell me who on Montreal beats 90 percent of them. I get what Bergevin is doing but it’s not the late 90’s where it was clutch and grab hockey. The neutral zone trap is useless. Where’s the skill. Who’s the first line players. Your point a game guys. There’s 6 or 7 40 point guys. How did they get better. Buffalo got Hall and Stall. Montreal got Toffoli and Anderson. Seriously who would you take. On top of that they are now over the cap and still have no front line players. Bergevin has had 2 top 3 picks and waisted them on Galchenyuck and KK. The only good draft pick he’s made to this point is Sergachev. They needed to rebuild like Ottawa is doing. We’ll see what happens as the season plays out but I would be shocked if Montreal makes the playoffs. Don’t forget they were in 23rd place when they lucked out with covid. They played 10 good games and all of a sudden people think they are contenders. Not only that but Pittsburgh looked lost. So it’s as much Pittsburgh playing bad as Montreal playing well. I hope I’m wrong because there would be nothing greater then having a 7 game playoff series of Habs vs Leafs.

  6. Don Sweeney better be careful or his blueline will start looking like Pittsburgh’s or Winnipeg’s … brutal

  7. What a bumbling fool Dorion is. I did a double take thinking it must have been Bergevin.

    OTT should have received a 2nd at a minimum with Stepan, not paid one. Unbelievable. Plus they should have been able to garner a 1st from TB to take those slugs.

    Yzerman was gonna need this and maybe more to help his old team. OTT just became an NHL landfill site.

    Only silver lining is they are another couple steps closer to Quebec City where they belong.

    • So far, I think that Dorion is the GM of the Year.
      He got 3 decent players for nothing and each one can be flipped at the trading deadline.
      Got a great return from LL for Pageau and has skillfully managed his cap space perfectly.

      Ottawa is loaded with picks, prospects and young good players.

      Sorry Wendel, but the TO window is closing while Ottawa’s is wide open.

      PS I love Thomas Chabot. Before long he will be in the Norris conversation.

      I think that the Sens surprise a lot of people this year.

      • The only possible surprise is they finish 6th and Habs 7th. They are both AHL teams in NHL kits.

  8. So since his GM career started in 2015 with the Bruins is Sweeney happy with his Drafts & Trades as much as the Bruins fans are ?

    Last 6 drafts he hit on a few players on his trades since 2015 I see a couple that worked …..

    Bruins knowing what they are looking at next offseason with their UFA & RFA Totaling 11 players if they would consider listening to trade offers for # 37, 88 & 63 ….. and starting a major rebuild

    • I have thought the same thing Joe. This year will be telling. We don’t have a tender signed for next season yet either.
      I would rather start a rebuild a year too early, than a year too late. The B’s have no one in the pipeline to replace Bergeron or Krecji. Maybe Studnicka, but that is more of a hope than a plan.
      Can’t win come playoff time without strength at C. Nothing but respect for Bergeron and Krecji, but father time is undefeated. If Bergeron wants to retire a Bruin, all for that if he is willing to hang around for the rebuild and can still contribute.
      But time to start looking to the future.
      If Sweeney decides to go for it this season, all good, but in reality the we are nearing the end for this core.

      • B’s will be life and death to qualify for playoffs. By next season they are a sure fire lottery team.

      • nice job & great read

      • Thanks Joe. I just threw a few quick thoughts together. Lol

  9. Sweeney Bruins Trade Work… Returns

    Jimmy Hayes
    Zac Rinaldo
    Lee Stempniak
    Victor Berglund
    Cameron Clarke
    Jakub Lauko
    Nick Holder
    John Michael Liles
    Tommy Wingles
    Drew Stafford
    Paul Carey
    Richie Bros
    Rick Nash
    Oskar Steen
    Cabe Webber
    Jake Schmaltz
    Marcus Johnsson
    Jacob Zboril
    Colin Miller
    Zach Senyshyn
    Jacob Forsbacka Karlsson
    Jeffery Lauzon
    Trent Frederic
    Ondrej Kase
    Charlie Coyle
    Craig Smith

    sure I missed a couple it was a easy google find but it was tough to read as a B’s fan

    • Joe, the Charlie Coyle trade for Ryan Donato, i would say was Sweeney best trade.

      Bringing in Johansson from New Jersey for a cup run was also a good trade.

      The big blunder was the 3 consecutive draft picks in 2015, personally thought as a new gm he went to far off the boards.

      Also a concern is his recent preference to trade for or draft local boys.

      This is the last kick at the can

      Can’t be a total rebuild with McAvoy, Carlo,and Pastrnak.

      Sad reality isn’t really any 1st or 2nd line centers on the team ready to jump in Maybe Coyle for 2nd line.

      • Brads contract with $$$ isn’t bad at all but the years are a concern I can see the Bruins trying to move him next offseason hopefully with a different GM

      • Thats funny you include Carlo as an apparent key building block. WE MUST HAVE A 4 -5 DMAN OR OUR FRANCHISE IS DOOMED. lol

      • The Maple Leafs last won the cup the day after Elvis and Priscilla Presley were married…..

        Brandon Carlo was 8 years old the last time TML won a playoff series.

  10. Ben Hutton, shiny object, lol.

  11. as usual the bruins looking for leftovers Sweeney blows it again!

  12. You can tell your friend if BergerIn has a receipt he should use it. Plan that parade.

  13. At the expectation of a quick rebuff…

    To Bruins fans…

    Right now…$3 M in space, @ 21 of 23… need a LHD; have 4 RHDs

    Vegas over by $1M ; also at 21 of 23

    So… Martinez (30 % of $4M Cap [1 yr remaining] retained) + either NJs 2nd OR Dugan OR Lechyshyn; for Lauzon

    After trade …. both teams still at 21 (of 23)… both with just shy of $1M in space; but Bruins have some LTIR for parts of year (to start day one …. Pasta, March, Miller @ $14 M annual Cap rate, will be on LTIR)

    Just a thought

    • I’m really happy with Don’s inactivity. No sense making a deal just for the sake of making one.
      Re-sign the captain and we’re set. Next year will be the year for new bodies on the roster.
      I have high expectations for Kase, Smith and Freddy on the forward side. Higher still for Lauzon and Vaak.
      Zboril and Stud are the only outliers.
      Rask and Halak should be as good, or better than Price and Allen.
      I’m dreaming of a Boston vs Montreal finals.

    • Pengy, from a B’s perspective I would do that deal today to give it one more go. And I like how Lauzon plays.
      SOP, ya it’s a tough call on this season, but fair to say, big change next off season seems likely.
      I really don’t know what to expect for how the team performs this year. Gonna be interesting.

      • Hi Ray

        Another Bruins “all in” way out there…

        Want another doozie…. a big “pick-me-up” for NY4Life’s day as he just loves the multi-player ; multi-team ; outlandish deals…. Pengy says with a nudge nudge wink wink goofy smile 😊…. yes I know….. way out there… but we’re still more than 2 weeks from an actual puck drop…. so what the heh!

        3 way…. Detroit in middle… Bruins/ Knights

        Vegas retains 21% ($1.5 M Cap) on Patches; also retains 50% ($2M Cap) on Martinez

        Detroit on the to-through; retains 21% ($1.5 M in Cap ) on Patches; 50 % (of the remaining 50% [50% of $2M = $1M ] of the one year remaining on Martinez). Detroit also sends Helm to Vegas at 50%

        Bruins get Patches at $4M Cap hit for 3 years; Martinez @ $1M for 1 year… sit at $1.6 M in space…. would Vats bite?

        Vegas gets Lauzon, DeBrusk, Zetterberg ($6.1 M in LTIR space); Helm (@ 50%)…. then balanced with 50 K in space and 22 of 23 spots… but also $6.1 M in Zetterberg LTIR…. could sign Hoffman using some LTIR space

        Detroit increase in cash outlay net of extra $0.8 M in 20/21; $1.13 M extra in 21/22 and 22/23…. that’s full year posted Sal… so in reality…. $640K (20/21) followed by about $925 K and $950 K in next two years

        Detroit gets…. NJs 2nd (from Vegas); Lechyshyn (from Vegas); Dugan (from Vegas); Trent (from Bruins)…. basically buying 3 good prospects and a low 2nd rounder for $2.5 M spread over 3 years…. note …. Carolina paid $3.8 M (Marleau trade) for Seth Jarvis (13th overall this year)!!!!

        Never happening as it is so way out there…. but if that came through…. Certainly a boost to both Bruins and Knights while allowing Detroit to buy a stronger team for 2-3 years from now

    • I think Sweeney needs to just wait until a few weeks into the season and see how the kids play. I’d hate to give Lauzon away for a rental just to start a rebuild/retool next season.

      I do expect we’ll see Boston sign a couple of experienced LD to PTOs in the next few days. Not any real “difference makers” but guys who can plug holes and compete with the young guys for minutes.

      If the team is looking like a competitor near the deadline, then maybe make a trade or two and go for it another time.

  14. Pengy ..I understand your thinking but its a no for me Jeremy Lauzon at 23 years old is just scratching the surface of the NHL he plays good D and has the size & toughness to be a VG NHL Dman this could be a very important year for him & the Bruins especially with Carlo a RFA next offseason…..

    • Agree Joe

      Was just throwing it out there

      I like Lauzon’s potential

      Sweeney does need to do something

      • Hi Joe

        See another one of my crazy ones just posted above in a response to Ray


  15. Ideally, Pengy’s comments would appear in brown text.

    • There was a hit song by Frank and Nancy Sinatra in 1967 (the last time the Maple Leafs won the Stanley Cup, in case you didn’t know).

      Perhaps that song should accompany all of your posts?

      • Hey Double, spot on i regards to the leafs.

        Btw, who is your team?

  16. Good point? I guess by any means necessary…

    That is a good team now..

  17. You r trying too hard to be witty with your insults and it just isn’t coming off. Not working at all.

    Comedy is about simplicity and timing, got it??………Big Nose.

    • Are you retired, quarantined, paraplegic…. what?

      • Aren’t you a health worker??? Shame on you for belittling paraplegic!

        You disgust me.

      • You are disgusted by healthcare workers?

  18. The line of Tatar/Danault/Gallagher consistently plays against other teams #1 line and outscores them. They aren’t just a checking or scoring line, they are a hybrid.

    They are a team team built for the playoffs and this short season.

    Star scorers are covered by top checkers and negated by checkers who can put the puck in the net.

    The lines aren’t classified as 1,2 3 because as a group they are effective and easily match up to any team this year while line 4 is also hybrid.

    Scorers are great, but as Dave Hunter turned Guy Lafleur into a mortal and the Oilers trounced the favoured Habs.

    Give me a team with top 9 scoring and shut down D over a top 3 with suspect D.

    • Yep Habsfan30, it’s not about scoring the most goals in the NHL, it’s about scoring more than the team you are playing.
      It is the teams with the best GF vs GA differential that year after year are the best teams.
      If you can’t defend you can’t win. Look at the team goals against #’s from last season, and then look at who won playoff rounds. Then look at the year before that, and then the year before that.
      Yet here we are discussing it again.
      No idea if Montreal improves their GAA enough to contend but they added guys who play a responsible game and KK does too. I think the kid has a very good year.