NHL Rumor Mill – January 15, 2021

by | Jan 15, 2021 | Rumors | 73 comments

Teams are making inquiries about the Panthers’ Aleksander Barkov while the club tries to figure out what to do with Keith Yandle, plus the latest on Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Frank Seravalli reports being told there are “a number of teams” making inquiries about Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov in recent weeks. Panthers general manager Bill Zito said he has no intention of trading the 25-year-old center and hopes to re-sign him. However, rival clubs are skeptical that Barkov will re-sign when his contract expires in 2022.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images)

Barkov’s camp wants to win in Florida and is willing to give Zito the time needed to get the right pieces in order to do that. However, Seravalli believes Barkov’s situation will be worth watching in the coming months.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barkov is perhaps the NHL’s most overlooked star. He’s among the league’s best two-way forwards and one of the most disciplined players, winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2018-19.

Nevertheless, most fans and pundits around the league don’t seem to realize just how good he really is. Panthers fans won’t like me saying this, but he’d garner far more recognition and plaudits if he played on a better team in a bigger hockey market.

I don’t doubt Barkov’s sincerity about wanting to win with the Panthers. However, they’ve been a sad-sack organization through most of his tenure. He could consider testing the UFA market if the Panthers are still spinning their wheels by the end of next season.

Speaking of the Panthers, Pierre LeBrun reports Keith Yandle’s agent believes Zito is trying to put pressure on his client to convince him to waive his no-movement clause. Zito, however, said he hasn’t asked the 34-year-old defenseman to waive that clause.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Zito is wasting little time trying to shake things up since taking over as Panthers GM in September. LeBrun’s colleague Travis Yost indicated moving the puck-moving blueliner won’t be easy because of his declining play and $6.3 million annual average value.

Nevertheless, Yost doesn’t dismiss the possibility of Yandle getting traded to a club with blue-line issues provided the Panthers retain some of his annual average value. I don’t dismiss that possibility but Yandle’s age and the remaining term of his contract (through 2022-23) are significant sticking points.


Former Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos took to Twitter yesterday saying the Montreal Canadiens are Dubois’ destination of choice. He claims the Jackets’ asking price is focused around “Nick Suzuki/plus.” Kypreos also said Habs defenseman Alexander Romanov “has been deemed untouchable.”

THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH’s Brian Hedger replied to Kypreos with a tweet saying he’s heard “Kotkaniemi/Mete and something else” was what he heard from asking around.

FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: George Richards believes the Panthers should be in the mix if the Columbus Blue Jackets intend to trade Pierre-Luc Dubois. He feels Zito is a big fan of Dubois, suggesting he’d make a good fit centering the Panthers’ second line with Barkov on the top line. Richards doubts a package of draft picks and prospects will pry Dubois from the Jackets, adding it will be costly to land him.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Joe Haggerty wonders if the Bruins could get into the bidding for Dubois. Jack Studnicka and Urho Vaakanainen are their best assets but Haggerty feels it will cost much more to get a deal done. He’s not holding his breath expecting to see Dubois in a Bruins jersey. Meanwhile, Haggerty’s colleague Jimmy Murphy reports the Panthers and New Jersey Devils are among those interested in the Jackets’ center.

OTTAWA SUN: Ken Warren believes Dubois would address the Senators’ need for a legitimate first-line center, something they haven’t had since Jason Spezza was traded away in 2014. He thinks it would take a significant offer to acquire Dubois, suggesting anyone other than Brady Tkachuk, Thomas Chabot or Tim Stuetzle should be in play.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Pierre LeBrun said Blue Jackets’ coach John Tortorella’s recent comments about Dubois wanting out isn’t making GM Jarmo Kekalainen’s job any easier. LeBrun said other clubs are saying Kekalainen wants to be patient with this situation, but it’s apparent there’s plenty of interest in the 22-year-old center.

It’s possible that a trade could shake out during this season that Kekalainen finds too good to pass up. I believe that deal must include a scoring forward, preferably a center. However, I still believe a deal of that magnitude takes place in the offseason. Despite the flattened salary cap, there will be clubs with the cap space this summer to take on Dubois’ $5 million AAV for next season and to pay him a big raise beyond that.


  1. Yandle to his home town Bruins? Florida would have to take some salary back

    it would seem Montreal has the best fit, trade-wise, to get Dubois. Habs fans would be over the moon if Bergevin can bring the big hometown kid home. And Kekelainen, the Jackets’ GM, sure loves acquiring Finnish players.

    • Would Florida (please) take Kase and Ritchie for Yandle.

      Seriously how about Zboril and Florida “eat” $2M of salary?

      • Zonker, the moment either of them deal were to happen Sweeney hands in his office keys and joins the Panthers.

    • MikeP you are aware that Kekalainen did pass over a finnish player to draft JLD?

      • The guy he passed up on, correctly, does look like a highly motivated player now that he is back in Edmonton.
        Skating looks great, more stops and starts vs circles. Most importantly he is engaged in the battle and sticking his nose in. Aggressively, and winning pucks.
        7 shots last night in only 11 minutes.
        If this continues, and Tippet starts to trust him, his minutes will go up and he could start to contribute more offensively.
        Might be a valuable player there after all. Fingers crossed for Oiler fans.

      • No he won’t be anything more than a spare part, 3rd liner. His growth is permanently stunted.

      • A big, fast, quality 3rd liner who is physical and prevents goals, while chipping in offensively is a win for Holland if that is all he is. And a win for JP as he will have a solid NHL career and make a few mil.

        Folks in the press, and many on this site, suggested dumping him for a “mid-round” pick or Lias Andersson, or Ho-Sang.

        That is the measuring stick from where we were this time last year.

        He has a chance to be more than that. He’s looked good so far.

      • A 4th overall who ends up as a 3rd liner is hardly a “win”. It is a big swing and a miss.

        Facts are important.

      • Not big on the reading part of other people’s posts are ya Wendel.
        When he was drafted doesn’t matter anymore.
        He would have returned a meaningless pick in trade.
        I’ll take how where he is today over that all day.

  2. God, its great to have hockey back! And let’s be serious, any team would be ecstatic with PLD or Barkov. A smart GM will wait until his price is met and not rush in, look at what Sakic did in Colorado, people were raking him over the coals until he pulled off highway robbery.

  3. As CBJ has 4 years of RFA control (many are mistakenly reporting 2…that is just his current contract), Jarmo has the option of being patient in finding the best trade for Dubois. It is somewhat similar to Sakic’s situation w/ Duchene except Jarmo is trading a younger 1C w/ more years of RFA control. However, there are multiple challenges for CBJ. First, they view themselves as contenders now. Second, there is pressure to continue in a “win now” mode w/Seth Jones’s contract due in 2 years. If they accept a package of futures does that make Jones less willing to commit long-term? Third, they struggled to score last year and if last night’s game 1 is any indication that could remain an issue. A lot of competing tensions to balance but CBJ fans have to continue with the “In Jarmo we trust” motto….this trade and this season is huge for the franchise.

    • Jk’s biggest problem torts, great strategic coach but a terrible people person, people can dance around the reasons players are leaving but it all comes down to the coach

      • Not trying to be difficult but I think the “Tort’s effect” gets overblown a bit in the media. Also, it feels like a false narrative w/ the Dubois, as this is Tort’s final contract year. Portzline reported earlier this week there are whispers he considered retiring after last year so there is buzz that this may be his final year coaching. We’ll see where it leads.

      • BBB it will be interesting to see; If JLD finishes the season in Columbus and JK doesn’t resign Torts, will that change JL demand.

      • Deacon I don’t think the torts effect gets overblown at all, I don’t think the media knows the half of it. I played summer hockey with a player that played in Vancouver with him and he said after a loss torts would degrade players. It might caper but I don’t see him making it through the season listening to the torts interview he has trouble “ wanting to coach players that don’t want to be there “

      • All I know is he rode DuBois’s horse to death both with his roles on the ice and his riding him mentally from the bench. I bet Torts asking for more answers to why he wants out is a question his bathroom mirror answers…

  4. “Kotkaniemi/Mete and something else” … what’s Bergy waiting for??? Would feel badly for KK, another young player for Tortorella to ruin …

    • Ed, if I had to bet it isn’t Bergy who is doing the waiting. Can’t see CLB accepting that.
      If the year ends and Kotkaniemi has a really good year, then they can revisit. Not sure where he is playing in the lineup with MTL and if he is even getting any PP time.

      • That’s the gamble, isn’t Ray. Hab fans are very high on their two C and don’t want to let either go; the flip is the longer you wait and if your 2 c have an off year or stay flat, then maybe the ask goes up or goes somewhere else. Or the fans could be proven right.

        Montreal love to market their own and JLD would certainly be a fan favorite.

      • You are right, Caper, Habs fans are high on our two young centers, and particularly high on Suzuki. Dubois is bigger, certainly an advantage; hard to say whether Dubois has more offensive talent given CBJ style of play.

        But trading Suzuki is just not worth the risk. I also like KK but that is something to be considered.

        Again, though, the cap is an issue in Mtl. The only way I can see this trade happening is if at the end of the year — unless the Habs can throw in a forward: please let it by Byron.

      • What a dumb comment LJ. PLD is at least a proven NHLer. Suzuki hasn’t established himself and st his ceiling if realized would be a PLD comparable. It would take him ++ to get PLD now. Give your coconut a shake , the lime is sticking to the walls.

      • Ray, Columbus is the team with the unhappy player and with the most to lose if there’s any decline in PLD’s production, the guy has 2 yr 5 mil either way.

        Bergevin has made his moves and while its only one game, the team appears much improved and he has no reason to cannibalize it.

        Columbus is in a tight spot, the 1C wants to move, their 2C (Domi) is a winger and both have poor face off %.

      • Agree with everything you just said Habsfan30, but that doesn’t mean Jarmo agrees to the deal mentioned above as he is on the short end IMO.
        Unless this goes sideways, they wait til the off season. And it might go sideways, then maybe he bites.
        More teams with space to deal with at a minimum.
        If a guy like RNH or even Danault hits the market, make an aggressive offer and if successful, you can now deal for something other than a C, or be in a position to gamble on a younger less proven one in exchange.

        Might want to sit Torts down and keep his comments about this subject to a minimum.

      • Aha moment.

        I have been wondering how Habfans can be so brainwashed into thinking Bergevin is making smart moves…and then I realized, I have never seen Bergevin and the Amazing Kreskin in the same place!!

      • Ray, I totally agree,KK,Mete +1makes no sense for Columbus or MTL. for that matter.

        Columbus doesn’t need the D, so why is Mete in there.

        KK is a better 2-way centre now but doesn’t give the offense Columbus needs but he is better than Domi at the position.

        Columbus has cap issues too, so the only Hab that fits moneywise is Byron, then it would be 5 mil for 5 mil.

        doesn’t make sense for either team

  5. Ottawa is close enough to Quebec. They have the quantity of picks and prospects just not a player to help Columbus right now excluding Brady Tkachuk and Chabot
    MTL would take Kotkiniemi AND maybe Poehling or Caufield AND a oickmor two.

    • Silver, I agree CBJ-Ottawa are intriguing trade partners…particularly if Jarmo is planning to acquire assets and then flip select ones for “now” players. LAK, ANA, CGY, WNP, MIN, MTL, NYR, FLA, & NJ have all been mentioned by reputable sources. It’s probably easier to name the teams that won’t be interested rather than those that are. However, my educated guess is unless a eastern conference team puts together an amazing offer, Dubois gets traded to a western conference team.

      • I understand why you would say that, Deacon. Players without NTCs don’t have much say, but I am not sure a team would pay the price they need to pay to get Dubois, if he won’t be happy in his new home.

        But I would not underestimate Torts’ wearing out his welcome. He gets results but his style wears players out. It has everywhere else, and he hasn’t changed since he got to Columbus.

      • Jk asks for suzuki, anything less and he hangs up the phone…laughing his ass off

    • No way MTL gives up KK and Caufield for Dubois. It doesn’t even work cap wise. Kk was one of the best players in the bubble for us and is playing on the 2nd PP. Mtl should only give up Danault Caufiel ++ and I don’t see Jk accepting that. On the other hand, I do give KK for Barkov no hesitation

      • “This is Ground Control to Major fool Habslifer ,you’re mind is floating in the most peculiar way”

        MTL has no talent to offer to acquire Barkov.

        Suzuki, Kk and Romanov combined would get dial tone, and their only 3 good established (yet declining) players are 100% immovable due to outrageous contracts in Gallagher, Weber, Price.

      • If all it took was kk and Canfield plus some sort of salary dump to get PLD Montreal would have already done it. You might be impressed for some reason with what KK did in the bubble but maybe check out what PLD did on the bubble compared to KK. Not even close. Before you use age as am excuse. PlD is only 2 years older so go back 2 years on PLD on his season and compared it to what KK has done on all his seasons combined and again PLD is way ahead. I am however a huge fan of Suzuki I think that he’s going to be a good one. Suzuki and PLD as there centers makes them a way better team then Suzuki and KK as there centers. I have a feeling the plus will need to be large if it’s KK going and not Suzuki.

  6. Now Barkov would be a fair return for Laine, except WINN needs D. 2 elite players, unlike PLD who is not in the same stratosphere as those two.

  7. The day Sweeney trades for someone like Dubois is the day I walk in the operating room and perform a coronary revascularization. It ain’t gonna happen that twit would find a way to screw it up. The bruins just barley hanging on for life against one of the top four worst teams in the league is an indication they need help desperately.

    • Coronary revascularization sounds hard.

      • Believe me it’s harder than Sweeney actually making a good trade or drafting a good player with crp that’s short for coronary revas.well anyhoo Raymond the arteries become blocked and as a result you have to insert a stent in the blockage. Now you can go back to your cave for a nap

  8. Stop the press . Something needs to be done , can’t have Mathews taking a cross check in front of the net , that never happens ! Must have forgotten when he didn’t like chiarots clean hit and he broke his own twig on the cross check retaliation earlier in the night. It’s almost like they had a team meeting about it so everyone could complain together.

    • Leafs won, Habs lost. Anderson , Suzuki and Chariot were the 3 responsible with their selfish penalties (first 2) and Chariot agreeing to be pummeled by Simmonds when they were ahead. 3 “loser” stars of the game.

      • If Suzuki can make Reilly look that bad just imagine what a 1st or 2nd liner will do Wendell, lol, probably tie him in a knot . I agree with the chiarot thought , brain dead to seek that fight at that time , I would be livid if nurse did that in that spot

    • I knew that would get a reaction. Just remember Matthews didn’t make those comments – an ex-player at TSN did. Matthews said it was part of hockey (unless you’re Nazem Kadri in the playoffs against Gary Bettman’s favourite owner).

      • Did Kadri do anything against James Dolan?

      • Facts don’t matter to Craig, BC. He is a bull and the Leafs are a red cape to him.

      • Don’t confuse what comes out of your mouth as fact Wendell . Both Auston and JT could have just said it’s part of the game , Auston could have said I busted my stick over his chest earlier in the game . But they didn’t , they both talked about a line in the sand and consistency in calling it. Take the hit like a man and maybe the guy you broke the stick on might not unload on your back when given the chance .
        Fun fact : Leafs have the longest Stanley cup drought in NHL history and that is currently running .

      • You should now google herm Edwards interview “you play to win the game” . Watch that 10-15 times and then respond

  9. Only one game but the Bruins have to find a way to score 5 on 5 it was a problem last season and need to fix it can’t rely on the PP all the time …..good showing by K Miller hope it continues

    • Agree need more scoring than Pastrnak and Marchand all the time. This is what happens when you pass on skilled players in the draft. Need more from Debrusk and Coyle.

  10. PLD is under the control of the Jackets for 4 more years if they want to play hardball. He may want a bigger market but at the moment he can’t decide where or when. I hope we trade him sooner than later. It was kind of obvious that he caught us off guard with this crap. So while was passing on UFA scoring help because PLD hadn’t signed. Then he turns down a 3-year deal and the biggest contract in Blue Jacket history and signs a 2-year deal. In the meantime, all the scoring help is gone.

  11. Everyone know the rangers d is weak defensively, and the panarin signing looks a lot like when the leafs signed Tavares to 11million too early in the rebuild and probably should have focused more on defence because of all their good offensive prospects

  12. We know who they need NYR4, dont we?!

    SAY HIS NAME it will set you free! The Heisenberg of D.

  13. I understand many of the posters’ view on Torts. I had the exact same view when CBJ hired him and have been pleasantly surprised at how different he has been relative to his prior stops. He still has his moments and those get the huge media publicity but he has really engaged in the CBus community and is surprisingly well liked in this area. That said, I fully agree his coaching style has a shelf life, particularly with some younger players, and we may be seeing the last year of him as coach of CBJ

    • Would Bruce Boudreau be a good hire in Columbus? Night and day to Tortorella. Similar vocabularies though.

  14. One comment on PLD Trade value. There have been multiple times where media pundits and other fanbases have suggested for a variety of reasons there was no way we would get appropriate value for our asset on the trade block (Ex – Johansen, Saad, and most recently, Anderson). Nonetheless, Jarmo has done exceptionally well in those trades. That makes me quite confident in Jarmo’s ability to evaluate talent and make a strong trade w/ PLD. Just my 2 cents.

    • Good references. CLB absolutely cleaned up in all 3 of those deals.

    • Agree he has a good history Deacon, and might pull it off this time as well.
      I think the difference is he needs a C for a C if he wants to continue to win now. Tougher deal to win IMO unless you take on some risk with a younger player(s).
      And do you trust that this won’t blow up if things start to go a little crooked for the Jackets? Torts start feeling a little stressed?
      If it does, it puts Jarmo in a tough spot.
      Seth calls him and asks WTF Jarmo, fix this or this season goes down the drain.

      • RB, Very fair point. If it has to be a C for C trade that could certainly prove be a limiting factor. It will be interesting to see if the CBJ need for a C or the reportedly large # of teams interested ends up determining the value of the trade. I firmly believe this could turn out to be a win-win trade when it eventually goes down.

      • Nothing to say a 3rd team can’t be brought in Deacon, kind of like the Duchene deal.
        Mid season, covid, flat cap, make that even less likely than normal.

  15. Suzuki, KK, Mete….in what world is that even thinkable???

    The thee of them have a combined cap hit of2,523,333 and PLD has a 5,000.000, so you want to add a 4th player with a 2,500,000 or more cap hit….Lehkonen? Armia?

    A 21 man roster becomes 18 with no room to add anybody.

    I get that folks don’t want to see PLD become a Hab but these ideas are so out of touch.

    There needs to be a semblance of reality or possibility when suggesting a deal, not to mention differences in player evaluation.

  16. Don’t worry about Rangers, if they won’t make playoffs, they will win this year “lottery”.

    • Vancouver, Detroit, Ottawa, Montreal. In the last 5 years all the teams mentioned above were lower then Rangers. The highest draft pic was…. nr 3, twice.
      Then you have NJ Devils. In the span of 3 years, being mediocre team but not on the bottom: draft pic nr 2, and 1. Rangers: nr 2 and 1, also not touching even the bottom.
      Gary needs to work on US market harder, to keep cucumber fans interested, and count his $$.
      So please Rangers, make the play off this year.

    • “lucky” LOL

    • It’s not conspiracy, it’s just business for Bettman, that’s all. He doesn’t care about sport itself, only about Excel.

  17. If you want to dump salary too, MTL has to add more to 3 unproven prospects, one of which is already a suspect.

    MTL fans seem to have no idea how terrible their roster is.

    • Wendel with the leafs sub par defense ( something facts prove) how can the next Bobby Orr in your mind lehtonen be a healthy scratch lol

      • Of course I didn’t say that. I said the Bobby Orr of the KHL and he was. Stats and facts are important as is literacy.

        Lehtonen will be moved up to top pairing with Muzzin once they give him a chance. Reilly and Brodie will fall to 2nd pairing by playoff time.

      • They have bogosian playing and not the next Bobby Orr! Lol you must be furious!

      • Agree BBB with the sub par Leafs D. They play the Oilers a few times in the coming weeks. After McDavid breaks Reilly’s ankle again they be in an ever worse situation.

      • Ya chad I saw Suzuki break Reilly’s ankles already once this year! And now that leafs d has allowed 5 more against the sens and the sens are playing their first game!

  18. A few notes…

    How do some ppl keep calling Dubois JLD?

    2nd David Quinn doesn’t impress me so far in the handling young prospects.

    3rd Wendel is a leaf blower.

    Lastly it’s great to see hockey back & all this season there will be ups & downs for whomever our teams are. GL to all the fans & lets hope covid gets beaten soon. Take care all & best to you & yours.

  19. Lehtonen healthy scratch, Covid protocol or just mediocre?

    • Silver7, Lehtonen certainly isn’t kept on account of depth….Bogosian and Brodie started and were exposed as pylons.

  20. It will be interesting to say the least if Montreal decides to trade for Dubois, if the asking price starts at Suzuki i’d shut the talks down rightt there. The other issure in regards to a trade is that Montreal would be down a player (Dubois) for at minimum 14 days. that would equal out to about 14 percent of the season give or take. Tha’s a lot of time in a shortened season with what is sure to be a very tight points race in the north.