NHL Rumor Mill – January 19, 2021

by | Jan 19, 2021 | Rumors | 27 comments

Are the Panthers thinking of pursuing Pierre-Luc Dubois? Should the Sabres target Marc-Andre Fleury? Who could be the odd-man-out on the Avalanche blueline? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


FLORIDA HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports there’s a theory that the reason Florida Panthers general manager Bill Zito efforts to get Keith Yandle to waive his no-movement clause was to set up for a deal to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Could the Florida Panthers attempt to acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Florida Panthers (NHL Images).

As the former assistant GM of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Zito helped draft Dubois third overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Murphy also cites an NHL scout suggesting that’s also the reason behind the recent Aleksander Barkov rumors.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Zito was trying to move Yandle I don’t believe the Jackets would’ve been interested even if the Panthers absorbed part of his $6.35 million annual average value. The Jackets’ defense corps is pretty much set, which is why they could send Markus Nutivaara to the Panthers in the offseason in a cost-cutting move. Yandle would have to be moved in a separate deal to another club to free up the cap space for Dubois’ $5 million AAV.

I don’t doubt Zito would love to acquire Dubois but I don’t see him moving Barkov to do so. If anything, I think he would envision Barkov remaining as the Panthers’ first-line center with Dubois centering the second line.


Murphy also cites an NHL scout suggesting the Buffalo Sabres should target Marc-Andre Fleury. “What the BLEEP are the Sabres waiting for? Get Fleury!”, the scout said. Murphy believes the Vegas Golden Knights are ready to move the 36-year-old goaltender. The Sabres could use an upgrade between the pipes but an NHL management source isn’t sure Sabres GM Kevyn Adams has looked into it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There are seven million reasons why the Sabres haven’t acquired Fleury. That’s his annual average value for this season and next. He also has a modified no-trade clause and could be unwilling to accept a trade to Buffalo. Cap Friendly, meanwhile, shows the Sabres only have a projected $1.2 million in cap room right now. Fleury is an expense they can’t afford. 


THE DENVER POST: Mike Chambers and Mark Kiszla discussed what the Colorado Avalanche could do to address their blue-line logjam. The Avs already possess considerable depth in talented young defensemen in Cale Makar, Devon Toews, Samuel Girard, Ryan Graves, Conor Timmins and Bowen Byram, plus they have veterans Erik Johnson and Ian Cole.

Chambers suspects Cole could sit if the young blueliners continue to impress. Kiszla wonders if GM Joe Sakic could use one of those rearguards as trade bait. Johnson’s contract ($6 million AAV, no-movement and modified no-trade clause) would be difficult to move. Chambers suggests Girard would be the most tradeable. Losing his $5 million AAV over the next seven seasons would free up cap room to add a forward or a goaltender.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Avalanche GM Joe Sakic might at some point consider using one of his defensemen as trade bait to address a roster issue before the Apr. 12 trade deadline. Johnson’s contract all but ensures he won’t be going anywhere. Cale Makar is untouchable and I don’t think Sakic will move Byram or Timmins. Toews is also likely to stay put after signing a four-year deal following his acquisition from the New York Islanders last fall.

Girard, Cole and Graves could become trade candidates. However, there’s no certainty Sakic will shop any of the defensemen this season. We’ll just have to see how things unfold.

Johnson’s no-movement clause means they can’t put him on their taxi squad this season without his permission. I can see them shuttling Byram and Timmins in and out of the taxi squad in the short term. Cole is a UFA this summer but the Avs could prefer hanging onto him for this season.


  1. Lyle, it’s amazing that these writers suggest trades without taking the cap into consideration. Maybe MAF makes sense for the Sabres but salary has to go back to make it possible. Would Vegas take Okposo in return, probably not so what Murphy suggests makes sense in theory only.

    • If the trade was Hutton back the other way with Vegas retaining some salary? No point in Buffalo keeping those 3 goalies, so they would want to send one back.

      • Hutton…HUTTON!!!… Oh that Hutton 🙁

        Sorry NYR4, false alarm.

  2. For me the best landing spot for MAF is Chicago. They send back Smith who is 1 year from IFA status & if possible have Vegas eat 1/2 MAf’s cap hit in 21/22. Vegas gets cap compliant now.

    Under the CBA or MOU are teams allowed to retain cap hit in only 1 year of a contract & not all?

    • Has to be all years of remaining contact (equal percentage in all years)

    • Why would MAF waive his no-move to go to Chicago? In Vegas he has a legit shot at another cup.

      • Randino, maybe he wants to play?

  3. Boston already short handed on the LD side and with Matt Grzelcyk leaving yesterday game with a shoulder injury.

    Is there a trade there between Bos and Col for a player like Ryan Graves admittedly i don’t know the player other then watching the playoff games. I like his size and put up decent numbers.

    What is Graves skill set can he skate? Is he Physical? what would the cost be? Would Jake Debust get the job done?

    • Well Caper, if you’re looking for a team that might move a quality NHL LD, COL would be it.
      If they are, and that is a big if, maybe Graves isn’t the guy they want to move and the target might be Girard.
      They don’t have Zadorov anymore so their only big defender type is Johnson and he is getting up there. Byram is on his way so they would have Makar and Byrom as the push the puck guys.
      At this point either guy is an upgrade for BOS. To get Girard might take DeBrusk and Vaak.
      Depends what wrong with Grzelcyk I suppose.
      I think Sakic keeps his D as he knows he may need all of them as they chase a cup. You don’t trade for Toews and sign him if you think your all set back there.
      Let’s hope Grzelcyk is OK.

      • Ray Bark
        I think you are right that they did not get Toews for nothing. Next year they loose Cole, Timmins is not 100% sure because of the concussions and they will most probably lose a LD to the expansion draft, so they don’t have that much expandables defensem..

    • Matt Grzelcyk it’s what will happen (get hurt) when you play D in the NHL at….. 5’9″ 175lbs

      and any GM in the NHL that watches DeBrusk play would stay away …he’s a 3rd line winger who wont get dirty

      • Joe, i keep going back to the Kadri hit; That concussion has changed Debrusk game and hasn’t been the same player since.

        It like at one point you play without fear and then something happens and fear takes over.

        Not sure if Debrusk will ever be the same player; hopefully he had some good conversations with Bergeron and learns to protect himself and get his game back.

  4. Avs keep Cole and pretend it a trade deadline add for a deep playoff run. Let him walk this summer. E Johnson won’t play a full season anyway

  5. Avs have a first class blueline, talent, skill & depth … memo to Jim Rutherford, study it old man, the blueprint is right in front of you.

  6. Bruins better think better than Yandle after watching the first three games other than brad and Patrice no one can score what a time for debrusks scoring to go awol !Ritchie on the second line?!?! What the h I am not high on Fredrick at all he should banished to the ahl he’s an average ahl player at best! Sweeeeeeeeeeeeney oh Sweeeeeeeeeneeeeeeeey get off your lazy keester and do something!

    • Fredrick will probably end up being a Shawn Thornton type who may have a little more offense than Thornton did … he needs to stay

    • Not sure what you would like him to do Rick?
      B’s have been on a good run, and Sweeney did what all GM’s in that position do. Try and win now.
      Most moves didn’t work out, but they got close.
      But the end result is the same as it is elsewhere during the cap era. Core that you have been winning with gets old, and you eventually stop winning. You have traded picks, and the ones you still have aren’t high in the draft.
      He missed on his one opportunity in a really deep 2015 draft to restock. But that has already happened so a pragmatic look forward is required as opposed to being looking back and complaining about something you can’t change.

      They are a contender to make the playoffs this year and maybe do some damage if they get there and are healthy at the right time.
      Window is closing and after this season may be shut unless Bergy, Krecji, Rask, Marchand find the fountain of youth. Just reality and they need to rebuild.
      If you have a better idea, let’s hear it.

      • Why wait for the rebuild at the end of the year.Be proactive.Make a decision on your younger players like Carlo,Debrusk,Bork,and retool the line-up.Use this season to evaluate Zboril.Lauzon,Vak,Frederic,Sudnicka.Pull the plug on Kase,always hurt,and Ritchie,just can t skate.

      • After years of watching Bruins’ success from up here in Quebec, how sweet it is to see them struggling !
        (we are genetically programmed to hate them, and the Leafs )
        Yes, doing so bad with those three 1st round picks, in 2015, will haunt them for years.
        Still, Bruins had a great decade, like few other teams did. but, the next few years are OURS 🙂
        What a great team, Bergevin has assembled ! Fast, talented, gritty, dominant PK, fantastic goaltending, four lines that can score….just ”wow”.
        Can’t wait to dominate the Bruins, next year 🙂

      • Not sure what your saying Steve.
        You mean trade some of the key vets now?
        I can’t see him approaching his captain to waive his NMC. But I can see them approaching Krecji is they are out of the hunt at the TDL.

        The young guys are getting a look, and if Grzelcyk is out for a stretch, another one will too.

        I think they will be OK this year. They aren’t scoring much, but also aren’t giving up many either. There leading scorer is out, new kids on D.
        It’s not like NY dominated or anything I would say the B’s out chanced them.

      • Dooby Dooby Dubois, The bruins have to get Dubois

      • Ya would like to have Dubois too, gotta give to get Rick, and that would cost McAvoy or a Carlo plus. So another hole created.
        If they want to try and do this quick I would pursue RNH if he makes it to UFA this summer.
        We need another C, and after that another one in a couple years when Bergy hangs em up.

  7. NMC and NMT are wrecking all the fun. Teams are stuck with players for longer than they really want. (See: MN Wild) I’m tired of this candy handout.

  8. Why would Vegas be interested in moving one of the veteran Tenders during this condensed season, if they are serious about going for the Holy Grail???

    Ditto for the Avs & their depth at D.

    Seems to me these hockey writers are reaching for things to write about!!!!

  9. Ray I was not advocating the vets such as Bergie,Marchand but to look at the next wave of players that I mentioned,I left out Coyle.They have 2 goalies on expiring contracts and several teams are desperate for goaltending such as Colorado,edmonton,Chicago,Carolina just to name a few.Make a call and see what you get for halak. I think this is the year to look at those young players since this is such a crazy season.

  10. Money move. Avs just saved $1.2m on comparable players. There has to be another coming… Dubois ?
    A lot of trades happen to teams not mentioned in the mills. The situation in Columbus can’t be good .