NHL Rumor Mill – January 21, 2021

by | Jan 21, 2021 | Rumors | 28 comments

The latest on Aleksander Barkov, Keith Yandle and Patrik Laine in today’s NHL rumor mill.

NBC SPORTS (via KUKLA’S KORNER): TSN insider Darren Dreger reports it’s hard to say at this point how seriously we should take trade speculation about Aleksander Barkov. The 25-year-old Florida Panthers captain is due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2022.

Florida Panthers captain Aleksander Barkov (NHL Images).

Dreger said the Florida Panthers and general manager Bill Zito believe they have time. Zito spoke to Barkov’s representative stating they had no interest in trade the center. Barkov has a no-movement clause in his contract for this season and a modified (12-team no-trade list) no-trade clause for 2021-22.

Barkov wants to win and wants assurances the Panthers are on the road toward achieving that goal. If they’re heading in that direction when it comes time to start contract talks, he’s willing to listen. Dreger indicates there are lots of NHL general managers who are eager to let Zito know they’re interested if Barkov becomes available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Panthers cannot open contract talks with Barkov until he’s officially entered the final season of his deal, which will be when free agency begins on July 28. The recent trade speculation arose because some general managers are said to be skeptical that he’ll re-sign with the Panthers.

Barring the unforeseen, this will probably be the last we’ll hear about Barkov in this season’s rumor mill. Don’t be surprised, however, if the speculation over his future in Florida resurfaces this summer, especially if the Panthers have another disappointing season.

Dreger was also asked about Keith Yandle’s status with the Panthers. He called it “curious, at best,” suggesting the 34-year-old defenseman probably isn’t sure about his situation with the club going forward. He was told before the start of the season that he wouldn’t be in the lineup but there was an about-face perhaps because of push-back from his teammates. Dreger wondered if Yandle was seeing action to improve trade interest.

BOSTON HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports NHL Network’s Kevin Weekes believes the Bruins should pursue Yandle. Weekes called out the Panthers’ organization for disrespecting the veteran blueliner and believes it’s an opportunity for Bruins GM Don Sweeney to acquire Yandle to bolster the Bruins’ scoring if the Panthers agree to pick up part of his $6.35 million cap hit.

NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss acknowledged Yandle, a Massachusetts native, is still productive. However, his agent, contract and the Bruins’ need to give their young defensemen a chance to prove themselves doesn’t make Yandle a good fit at this time.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I concur with Goss. If Yandle were a little younger or had less time remaining on his contract at a more reasonable cap hit, perhaps he’d be a worthwhile trade target for the Bruins.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch believes the current absence of Patrik Laine (upper-body injury) will give the Winnipeg Jets a good idea of what life will be like without him. The winger asked for a trade during the off-season but Garrioch said the Jets could find a suitable trade partner.

That doesn’t mean Laine is off the market. Garrioch pointed out many observers believe a deal could happen during this season. The 22-year-old winger is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer who could seek over $9 million per season. Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff could attempt to move Laine before the trade deadline rather than meet Laine’s expensive salary demands.

Garrioch notes the speculations linking Laine to Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois. Like Laine, Dubois has requested a trade, prompting suggestions of a one-for-one swap. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen would have more than a passing interest in Laine.

Anyone interested in acquiring Laine will have to talk to him about a contract extension. Garrioch lists the Detroit Red Wings, Philadelphia Flyers, New Jersey Devils and Chicago Blackhawks among the potential suitors. He dismissed rumors linking Laine to the Carolina Hurricanes because he doesn’t believe they’ll shell out big bucks to sign him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Trading Laine during the season is possible but only if the Jets have fallen out of the playoff race or they get an offer of an immediate impact player in return. Laine remains a key ingredient in the Jets’ playoff hopes for this season.

The Blue Jackets would certainly need to know if Laine would be willing to sign a contract extension. The Jets, however, could also have concerns about Dubois’ contract status. He’s signed through next season and they could be unwilling to part with Laine for a player who could prove unwilling to commit to a long-term deal with them.

Laine would certainly provide some welcome star power to the Red Wings but their biggest needs remain improving their defense. Ditto the Blackhawks.

The Flyers reportedly kicked tires on Laine but the cost of the return apparently ended those discussions. The Devils could be a good fit as they have the cap space and the assets to acquire and re-sign Laine, provided he’s willing to agree to a long-term deal.


  1. Kevin Weekes took too many pucks to the head and should seek immediate assistance …

    • Yeah….hard pass on Yandle should have kept Krug

  2. I totally disagree with Spector’s comment on Yandle. While they would need to dump salary or get them to pick up some of his salary , Boston NEEDS Yandle not so much for his defensive prowess but for his ability to move the puck. 45 points is nothing to sneeze at which he got the last full year. He is from the Boston area and would give up his contract restrictions to go there. One injury to anyone with experience on the blue line and you have almost all rookie or untested players there. The Bruins will never get him though because Sweeney is completely uncreative.

    • its not just Sweeney Neely has a BIG say on what goes on with the moves the Bruins make

      • Sweeneely is the GM just one of my jokes

    • Barry totally disagree; Yandle is not a trade Sweeney should be considering. Yandle is 34yrs old and his best days are behind hi, not to mention 2yrs left on his contract.

      Yandle isn’t a goal scorer he is a play maker; Boston issues isn’t being able to create opportunities; it’s having a player or two who can miss the goalie.

      Unless as someone suggested Florida holds 50% and takes John Moore then ok.

      • Bang on, Caper.

    • With Caper and Joe. Yandle isn’t a big upgrade over what we have. He would just take minutes away from Grz and I wouldn’t say Yandle is a big improvement there, I would say he is a downgrade if you consider the complete game. Zboril needs to play. Let’s find out what we have. We know the physical tools are there.
      If Sweeney decides this team has a shot and wants to add and extra LD at the deadline OK, as long as he was a pending UFA.

  3. as a Bruins fan I say no to Yandle let the kids play see what you have going into next offseason where changes will certianally need to be made……Bruins are built for the regular season not for the SC playoffs and a Yandle wont change a thing

  4. I agree with Joe.See how this season plays out,plenty of pieces to trade at the deadline if things are not going well.I think this might be the year that the Bruins are sellers.Kind of reminds me about the Pat s this year.A time to EVALUATE.

  5. Bruins need a scorer not another worn out d

  6. If Yandle has a no movement clause that comes with his contract he would have to be protect in the expansion draft. That means exposing Gris, Mc Avoy or Carlo to the draft. Not worth it. If he waives the no movement clause to come to the Bruins, does that mean he no longer has a movement clause? What is the rule there.

    • That’s up to the acquiring team. The acquiring team can choose not to honor the clause thus nullifying it.

      • that interesting right there, I always thought the clause followed the player

      • Lyle, didn’t they do away with that in new CBA? Player keeps clause with new team?
        I’ll say again: Yandle to Flyers (1m tetained) for Gostisbehere.

      • I stand corrected: In part 58 of the Memorandum of Understanding, it states “No-Trade and No-Move clauses shall always travel with the Player in the event of an Assignment (by Trade or Waivers) of the SPC.” https://media.nhl.com/site/asset/public/ext/NHLPA_NHL_MOU.pdf

  7. The Jets, or whichever team wants to trade for Dubois, had best consider if it is a team he wants to play for. Any team that pays what it will cost to land him will have paid too much if can’t retain him after next season. His greatest value would be to the Canadiens, just for the publicity he’d bring to the team, and there are reasons why they’d be his likely preference. He’d be near home, and he’d be reunited with Josh Anderson, with whom he had much success. He desires to play in a larger hockey market than Columbus, so he’d be in his element in Montreal. That criterion might disqualify both the Jets and the Bruins, another speculated suitor that would certainly covet him, but which plays in a city less populated than Columbus.

    Is Suxuki too much for the Canadiens to pay? In 2019, when Dubois was 21, he scored 61 points and was plus-16. Last season, when Suzuki was 21, he scored 41 points and was minus-15. And Suzuki will never grow to 6’3″

    • I agree with everything you’ve written here, Francis.
      I’d not hesitate in trading Suzuki for PLD. If that’s all Jarmo is asking for, it would already be done.
      I’d also throw in a pick or two if required.
      Suzuki is a nice player to have. PLD is a player the Habs need.

    • The problem most teams have with acquiring PLD (and Yandle for that matter) is that not only do you need to include some sort of prospects/picks its that you need to also include salary swap so that it works for the year.

      To me PLD is better that all the current Habs Centers and a fair point what a hometown boy would mean on a larger scale.

    • Not to say Suzuki is as good, but to be fair. PLD played a whole 82 game schedule and had Panarin on his wing.

  8. A 3-way Dubois trade might be better for GMJK to fill what need(s) he seeks. Opens up a myriad of potentials offers. That said unlikely til the offseason is my guess.

  9. In my previous comment, I equated, maybe erroneously, “market” size to city population, not to metropolitan statistical population.

  10. Hey, i got a question do you keep PLD to expose to Seattle to Shield other players, plus get a little cap releif….

    • I would think any team would protect PLD at all costs, mainly because he’s an excellent player and his salary is more than palatable. Lesser players, players not shown to be worth their contract or players who don’t project to be valued would be susceptible to exposure. PLD doesn’t fit any of those examples.

  11. Its ironic that star RFA ‘s (Barkov ) want to play for a winner yet their salary and term demand prevent that.
    Boston is lucky to have Marchand and Pastrnak at their dollars . If they were $10m deals they do not win the cup and be in the finals/semis around that win.
    If Habs have a shot at Dubois take it. Me thinks it would take more than Suzuki .

  12. if this move is not made in the next couple of weeks it will most likely wait until the off season especially if it involves the Canadiens or any Canadian team due to required player quarantine period.
    The other scenario is Tortorella gets canned and PLD stay put. The CLB fan base is going to get tired of seeing their better players leaving town.

  13. IMHO, Suzuki’s on ice vision & hockey sense, far outweighs Dubois size.

    Kotkaniemi, Drouin & a 1st rder for Dubois & a 3rd rder.

    Drouin has to be part of the deal to make $$$ work for Montreal.

  14. I wonder if: Drouin, Poehling, and a 2nd rounder for Dubois would be acceptable?