NHL Rumor Mill – December 7, 2020

by | Dec 7, 2020 | Rumors | 28 comments

Could the Predators have another move in store before the season begins? Will the Senators be buyers or sellers this season? Check out the latest in the NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked if Nashville Predators general manager David Poile was done wheeling and dealing. He believes there’s no sense of urgency among NHL GMs to make moves until we know when the season will begin.

Back in October, Poile didn’t rule out making more moves. Vingan points out the Predators have nearly $13 million in cap space, though some of that will be used to sign restricted free agent Luke Kunin. He feels it would make sense to target cap-strapped clubs for a return that could address the Predators’ second-line needs.

Could the Nashville Predators attempt to acquire Alex Killorn from the Tampa Bay Lightning? (NHL Images)

Vingan and colleague Joe Smith bandied about the notion of the Predators acquiring winger Alex Killorn from the Tampa Bay Lightning, who must shed salary to re-sign Anthony Cirelli and Erik Cernak. Vingan believes Killorn would be a good fit on the Predators’ second line.

Smith feels getting back a package of futures (draft picks and/or prospects) would be crucial for the Lightning. That would include a 2021 second-round pick to replace the one traded away and something to bolster their defense prospects.

The Lightning might have to consider moving someone like Ondrej Palat if they can’t find any takers for Killorn or Tyler Johnson. Vingan believes the Predators would be very interested if Palat became available.

Vingan also acknowledged the Predators’ rumored interest in UFA winger Mike Hoffman. He’s willing to sign a one-year deal which is better than Killorn’s three-year contract. However, Vingan is uncertain if Hoffman fits into the Predators’ plans.

NBC SPORTS: Adam Getz recommends Poile go the offer sheet route by targeting Lightning center Anthony Cirelli. He points out the Preds have the cap space and the assets for compensatory draft picks to make a competitive offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers believe Poile has made his offseason moves and could bank his cap space to put toward trades if necessary during the regular season. However, the need to bolster their secondary scoring could see the Preds GM make a move or two before the season opens sometime in January or February.

Poile could be playing the waiting game with Hoffman hoping to sign the UFA winger to an affordable one-year deal. Failing that, he could look at cost-effective short-term help like Andreas Athanasiou or Anthony Duclair.

Killorn or Palat are possibilities if Poile goes the trade route. It’ll depend on what the Lightning want in return. He could also look at other clubs that are trying to dump salary before the season begins.

Cirelli could get an offer sheet from a club like the Predators but if that was going to happen it would’ve been made by now. Remember, the player must be interested in signing an offer sheet. It doesn’t seem like the Cirelli camp is entertaining that notion.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Senators owner Eugene Melnyk believes his rebuilding club has turned the corner and the pieces are now in place to contend. He indicates the Senators’ days as trade deadline sellers are over.

We’ll be a team that’s active at the trade deadline and not as sellers, but as buyers, just like we used to be”, said Melnyk. “If you look at my track record on spending on players, we were already right up there. We were never at the top, but we were always right up there or around the center. Now, we’re going to stay somewhere in the center, depending on where it’s at. Our budgets are always somewhere around $70 million, which is in the center.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t expect the Senators to be buyers if they’re not in playoff contention. If Melnyk’s comments are anything to go by, however, they won’t be selling off veterans as they have over the past three years.

If they are contenders, they must invest wisely if they’re going to be buyers. Don’t just go for rentals but try to add players who can help them beyond just one season.


  1. Will a real journalist (ie not Garrioch) please remind Eugene Melnyk that spending $70m on your team is effectively throwing in the towel and announcing to your fans that you have no desire or intention to win the Stanley Cup and owning a hockey team is purely an exercise in vanity.
    Yes, I’m fully prepared to read comments along the lines of “look at team X, they spend to the cap and didn’t win last year” and that is true. Only one team gets to win the Cup each year, and that’s generally one with stable ownership, who doesn’t interfere with hockey operations and will generously provide the GM with resources ($$$ and other hockey-related resources).

    • Ditto. move to Quebec City already.

      • No one in Quebec City can afford a team. Quebecor, who applied during the last expansion is $6 billion in debt. They were never getting a team.

      • I read a rumor that the NHL was considering an expansion franchise in Toronto to compete with the current collection of underacheiving pond hockey players masquerading as an actual pro hockey team.

        Just rumor though. Everyone knows Hamilton deserves an NHL team before Toronto gets one.

    • So, the best route is to constantly spend up to the cap, including almost 50% on 5 players, and not win ONE playoff round in 16 years?

      Incidentally, in that 16-year span, the over-spending team only appeared in the playoffs 4 times with an 11w 17l record and 0 rounds won.

      The “cheap” team appeared in 8 playoffs with a 41w 42l record and won 7 rounds.

      • Yes! As mentioned by a previous poster… the truth is the Sens are junk because s4it slide downhill. Houston would make that team competitive and not a welfare team.
        They don’t have and vets anyone wants and their cupboards are filled with meh prospects for the most part. Never needed a team there especially one which such a terrible owner.

      • To George’s point, what makes a team junk versus successful? The one that doesn’t spend the cap max but still manages to win playoff games and rounds or the one that spends every possible penny but can’t win a damn thing?!?!


      • Canadian King, he has a giant bug up his butt that activates into purple apoplexy whenever anyone – especially me – DARES to offer any criticism of “his” team.

        In this instance, in response to Nick S, I merely cited the facts and the fact the facts speak for themselves is somehow irrelevant – in his view.

        A view, also, that describes Ottawa’s prospect pool as “meh” – even though the Hockey Writers rank them 4th in that capacity while “his” team sits 16th.

      • George it’s funny with Ron whatever he says bad about any team the leafs have always done something worse leaf fans can’t win on ice or off

      • They’ve managed to keep their heads above water for sure, Ray, and they have given their fans just as much to cheer about – and maybe even a bit more – as Leafs fans since re-entering the league

        Ottawa’s overall record since entering the league – 948-912-115-164 – 2,175 pts

        Toronto’s overall record in the same span – 963-824-105-167 – 2,198 pts

        In that span Ottawa missed the playoffs 11 times – Toronto missed the playoffs 14 times

      • Cirque du Soleil is the only hope for this minor league town and city. A complete embarrassment to the NHL and North American Big 4 sports … Houston would also serve this team well

      • Yeah, sure.

  2. Jake Sanderson is the deal.

    I couldn’t even tell you the owner of Dallas and Tbay. Melynk needs to follow suit and stay out of the press. Who cares what he thinks.

    Killorn is what Nashville needs not one of the remaining UFA fodder.

    • “Melynk needs to follow suit and stay out of the press.” – I can wholeheartedly agree to that SilverSeven. Silent ownership is the best ownership. Unfortunately, he thinks he’s George Steinbrenner.

    • If I was rich enough to buy a team for fun, not as an investment, I would be mark cuban up in there.

      • If I was rich enough I would buy the senators and immediately fold that sad sack franchise as a service to the rest of the league. Plus I’d get an awesome tax write off . Win- win. Always think positive. Cheers.

      • It’s deja poo all over again … i.e., the feeling that you’ve heard this same s*^t multiple times

        From the source who is a member of a fan base that is the living proof of the adage “as long as people will accept crap it will be financially profitable to dispense it”

    • I’m not a Send fan but i think they had a fantastic draft. And yes Sanderson IS the deal.

  3. IMO, Cirelli could still end up elsewhere. Sure, he hasn’t signed an offer sheet. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t had some offers. Maybe he prefers to stay in Tampa, but if they can’t create more cap space, is he willing to accept less than he might with another team? Tampa is already over the cap but not at 10% over. They can still match any offer less than 6 mil.per.

  4. Love the player that Cirelli is but he is a good 2C that could be paid like a 1C ..

    It makes sense that Nashville would overpay for a center in Cirelli after their previous track record.

    • That’s why I don’t see Tampa overpaying. They already have Stamkos and Point. Their best bet is to get Cirelli to agree to a cheaper 1 year deal and readdress next year. Can’t say enough though, until there’s a plan in place for season, hard for teams to make decisions. With divisions being different, will that effect trades? Do you want to deal with a team that might end up in your division?

      • Good points.
        Cirelli’s agent must understand how he is being overvalued. The chances of Stamkos ever being 100% for a full run again is not great though.

        I am sure they have tried to move Stamkos almost as hard as TJ

  5. “He’s willing to sign a one-year deal which is better than Killorn’s three-year contract.”

    Sure, one year of a locker-room cancer is much better than three years of a relatively important part of the most recent cup-winning team.

    • It would actually fit for Stamkos to go to Nashville…..
      Gives you Joha+Forsberg 1st line combo and Duchene+Stammer on 2nd….

      • Then you put Stammer with Johan.
        He does not need to play center. Let him do the one thing he can do well…shoot the puck.

        Duchene was complaining that he does not get to play with Forsberg full time.
        Nashville has 12 million cap space if I am correct? anyone seen Stamkos playing out his contract?

  6. In total agreement about Melnyk thinking he’s Steinbrenner … now it makes perfect sense – All these years Melnyk hasn’t actually been going public about the team, but was in fact wondering where his calzone was!! He can smell it.. it’s in the building!!

  7. If players sit out season people should just boycott the g ames next season tired of this garbage players execs are paid a mint they are acting like spoilt brats.