NHL Rumor Mill – January 22, 2021

by | Jan 22, 2021 | Rumors | 57 comments

Pierre-Luc Dubois’ benching raises more speculation over his future with the Blue Jackets, plus the latest on the Penguins in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline believes the Columbus Blue Jackets’ efforts to manage Pierre-Luc Dubois’ situation following his trade request may be spiraling out of control after he saw less than four minutes of ice time in yesterday’s 3-2 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. The 22-year-old center was benched for the final two periods of regulation and overtime.

Could the Columbus Blue Jackets trade Pierre-Luc Dubois soon? (NHL Images)

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella wouldn’t talk about why he benched Dubois while the center declined to be interviewed. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has taken multiple calls on Dubois but Portzline said it’s unclear how he’s hoped to handle this. It was assumed Kekalainen wanted to get through this season before trading Dubois.

Portzline said sources say the relationship between Dubois and Tortorella isn’t the direct reason he’s requested a trade. The Jackets coach said the onus is on the player to determine their ice time. “You’re going to get out there if you play the proper way,” he said.

SI.COM: Ken Campbell believes the skids are being greased for Dubois’ departure from the Blue Jackets. This has become an untenable situation that must be addressed sooner rather than later. He wondered if Dubois is trying to force a trade with his indifferent play against the Lightning or if Tortorella has had enough of the drama of players who want out of Columbus.

Campbell expects Kekalainen will receive multiple calls from his peers around the league. He doubts Dubois’ value in the trade market will be diminished, pointing out the center is a known commodity around the league who’s also under contract through 2021-22.

Dubois’ situation has been compared to the departures of Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky nearly two years ago. However, those players didn’t request trades but merely indicated they would test the free-agent market when their contracts expired.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t doubt Kekalainen preferred to hang onto Dubois for the remainder of this season and then attempt to shop him this summer when it’s easier to swing major trades. Last night’s incident, however, suggests that might not be an option if this situation grows toxic.

Kekalainen could meet with Dubois and Tortorella to settle things down. Perhaps Dubois’ teammates will weigh in on the situation before it gets out of control.

There’s no question Dubois has considerable value in the trade market. Almost a dozen teams have been linked to him, maybe more. Finding a suitable offer, however, is the sticking point.

Unless Kekalainen decides to blow up his roster and rebuild he won’t want a return of draft picks and prospects. He’ll want a scoring forward who can have an immediate positive effect upon the roster, preferably a center to replace Dubois. If a one-for-one swap like that isn’t available, he’ll want a couple of promising NHL-ready players as part of a package deal.

The rules on non-essential travel between the United States and Canada will affect attempts by Canadian teams to acquire Dubois. It’s been pointed out that the acquiring Canadian team would have to wait two weeks for Dubois to complete his self-quarantine period before he would join the roster. Meanwhile, that club would also be without the assets they gave up to acquire him.

This situation could be resolved in the coming days if Kekalainen finds an acceptable deal. The question is whether that deal is available in-season.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports injuries to the Pittsburgh Penguins’ blueline has GM Jim Rutherford shopping for a defenseman. He’s in the market for the best one he can find but might have to settle for a third-pairing rearguard.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Just over a week into this season, the Penguins are short three defensemen with Mike Matheson, Marcus Pettersson and Juuso Riikola sidelined by injuries. Cap Friendly indicates they have $1.9 million in cap space but that won’t leave much wiggle room to make an addition.

The Penguins were linked earlier this week to Winnipeg Jets’ winger Jack Roslovic. That’s likely headed to the back-burner with Rutherford seeking to plug holes on his blueline.


  1. Injuries piling up at LHD for Pens and Jimbo hinting of a trade…. and ….the way the second line wingers (Rust/Zucker) have started…. especially Zucker…. if this continues … a trade is needed

    With others looking for D …. it very likely won’t be a top 4D coming back… maybe very good bottom painting LHD?

    Jimbo…. call up Billy G (pretty please) and find out what the cost is for Soucy

    Dallas are carrying 8 D…. what is the cost to reacquire big Jamie O?

    Avs carrying 8 and Byram has started… lest Pens hope and pray at acquiring Ryan Graves?

    It’s relatively early in the morning so for shops ‘n giggles I will throw out one of those multi-player deals that NY4Life absolutely loves that I post….

    Zucker/Ruhweedel for Soucy, Rask, Beckman


    Rust/Ruhweedel for Soucy/Rask

    • If nothing else, Beckman, along with Petterson and Joseph, could generate income for the financially distressed Penguins by wearing a Weight Watchers ad on their helmets. No doubt, the company would consider paying the players’ weight in gold a real bargain.

      As for the others you’ve proposed, I don’t think the Penguins would want to take the Rask.

    • Pengy..I proposed this trade a couple Articles ago dont thin you saw it..I posted late.

      This was before the Pettersson Rikola injuries.

      The Pittsburgh Penguins bounced back versus Washington getting to 2-2.

      My trade proposal and there are some quiet rumors this defenseman may want to play for a winner..

      Duncan Keith. Lefthanded defenseman, playing great, has two years left on his deal @$5.45 million

      I have watched all the Blackhawks games and at 37 he is playing well. He skates terrific, passes extremely well, is stable, and controls play.

      His decision making, his 3 rings, his pedigree makes our top 4 solid..Letang dumoulin Keith Marino..can figure out bottom pair.

      Offer Marcus pettersson at $4.025 million, you have several players on long term injury list, and we do have$1.3 cap space..

      Keith makes a statement and gives us a good defense for a deep run pettersson doesnt..sorry

      His contract is two more years which is perfect for our win now window..He will be our trevor Daley 36 that we added in 2016 that was huge..
      We have alot of young defensemen coming..Cam Lee, Joshua Maniscalco, william Rielly, Pierre Oliver Joseph..

      Duncan Keith is a winner,will help us compete against the top teams..

  2. Re Jackets

    I posted on Morning Coffee

    “ Re Clb…. transparency here… I have never been a fan of Torts… had success but I am not a fan. Moves like he did last night devaluing a big asset in a small market just to show “who’s the boss”…. time for Jarmo to get rid of Torts”

    I truly believe that Torts idiotic benching of PLD is just a power move by Torts… with the end result of forcing GMJK’s hand in a move sooner than later (and with the pressure on him, then he is in a less powerful negotiating position) AND creates tension amongst the team

    …. fire Torts Jarmo

    • Word in Cbus is, and let’s be honest here, nobody outside of Cbus pays any attention to the Jackets at all until something like this comes up, is Tort’s and Jarmo are in agreement how this is being handled. Tort’s may be a little short with reporters still, but he is not crazy locker room attacking Tort’s of old. Frankly I wish he would loose it once in a while. He has done a helluva job with this team the past few years and I see no reason to axe him.

      • Hi Pupinabox

        You may be right re the actual situation (your assertion that Jarmo is on Torts side)…. I think we are all speculating

        I’m not up with the Columbus local media reporting in this

        Wether GMJK is in synch with Torts benching PLD or not, to me this is not the story/issue….. this move complicates the team, lessons GMJK’s bargaining power in a trade (if he plays and does well…. value up; sitting him for sure can’t show his talent; and makes it look like PLD is the problem; value down); and creates tension with team

        Again, as I’ve already posted…, not a fan of Torts. I do acknowledge his success

        However his success comes in waves with teams then it wanes and issues ensues… then he starts over with another team

        IMHO …. the best move for Jackets is to fire Torts

        Something has got to give

      • I would disagree. Actually PLD is the problem. What kind of goofball signs a 2 yr contract and 2 days later requests a trade? It would probably been smarter to say “l’m not signing, trade me. “ The other word around here is it isn’t about him not wanting to play for Tort’s, so who the hell knows what is going on.

      • Torts has squeezed more out of the Columbus line up than could have been expected. Good for him. But the high water mark was two years ago when they swept Tampa.

        If Torts’ coaching style isn’t the problem then one has to wonder why so many marque players left or want out. I doubt it’s the weather.

    • Pengy, I have to disagree here. Did you watch PLD float around the ice and then lollygag back to the bench?
      To my way of thinking, that was an act of direct defiance. He was obviously showing Torts up and attempting to force JK’s hand.

      Torts is not without blame, but not in this case.
      I was a supervisor at my job and if one of my people pulled something like that, their ass would be out the door the next day.

      If I was JK, I would tell PLD’s agent that his client will be not be traded under any circumstances.
      And then sit him for three or four games and see how he likes that. I would also start making him do bag skates and generally be on his ass, 24 x 7.

      PLD’s time in Columbus is over and everyone knows it. There is no going back now.

      The adults have to put an end to this nonsense of players forcing small market teams into “no win” situations. Not everyone can play for the Rangers.

      And then I would trade him to one of the least desirable places to play hockey in. Fill in whatever franchise you think fits the bill (Arizona).

  3. Those Penguin trade proposals above are beyond ridiculous …

    So after giving up a #1 for Zucker, the proposed trade would send him back for three lesser players???

    Wow …

    • PLD the problem?

      Nash Panarin Bob etc have happened before him

      It’s not a place where top players or players who view their potential is a top player wants to be.

      Torts isn’t a modern NHL coach regardless of past success. Power moves on players don’t work.

      Changes need to happen..

    • Totally. The Adam Larsson to Edmonton for Tristan Jarry rumor makes more sense to me. Fills a big hole in each other’s line up and the money makes sense.

    • Totally agree.
      Edmonton trading Adam Larsson to Pittsburgh for Tristan Jarry makes more sense. Money pretty much balances out and fills a major hole in each roster.

  4. Bluejackets fan here. Watched that game last night and PLD’s couple minutes of ice time was disgusting. No effort at all. I don’t blame Tort’s one bit. Embarrassing. I really don’t care at this point. The guy has all the tools but has become a cancer. Ship him out now for a snow cone machine and a bag of pucks. .

  5. Love tortarella. Asked why he didn’t use a particular player on the power play he said,” because he stinks!”

  6. Habs do not need to trade for PLD, they have a very good depth with 3 scoring lines and a strong 4th line. Their young Cs (KK and Suzuki) are just gettIng better every game. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Suzuki (and maybe even KK) becoming a better player than PLD because of his hockey IQ in very near future.

    • I totally concur. As much as us Frenchies would love a French superstar in Montreal, seeing PLD’s lazy shifts, last night, made me change my mind about wanting him on the team. And, as Pupinabox wrote, why the hell sign this two years contract, if it was to ask for a trade, two days after ? Absurd. The hell with him, let’s stick to KK, Daneault, Suzuki and Evans.

      • He signed a contract to help speed up a trade! Which team especially now would or could trade for a player that was playing very well the season before without a contract? He signed so a team would know what they have to pay during a flat cap which makes it a lot easier fir the trading partner aswell as garnering a better return for the jackets! Torts is a great strategic coach but a total idiot when it comes to handling players and saying stuff that should be kept in the dressing room. If the jackets organization wants to keep good players around they have put a leash on torts or just get rid of him! I think he is a very good coach but maybe it’s time for when he is talking to the media he is only allowed to give yes or no answers it would save the team a lot of heartache lol

  7. Not sure the GM loved what Tortorella did last night. If you want to trade a guy and get somewhat equal return, you might want him on the ice and you might want to tell him that every bad shift makes it harder to move him.
    I could see Torts being moved before Dubois.
    How would Bruce Boudreau look in Columbus?

    • Hi BCLeafsFan

      Concur on all your points (see my response above to Pupinabox)

      One lacklustre shift (and it really was not that bad) of your best C does not require benching for the rest of the game

      If this benching continues… a trade recipient is going to get the much better side of the deal

    • Torts is paid to win games. What message is sent if you allow the crap that PLD pulled last night.

      Just signed for $5m and decide to go for a Sunday skate.

      Torts was correct in his decision, this benching solely lies with the player.

      Turn off the dislike button for Torts and look at why he benched the player.

      With all that said; Sweeney go get PLD!

      • Hi Caper

        We agree to disagree and that’s ok. Completely what this forum is all about. All good.

        As I mentioned above… for me….no challenge on warranted benching… 1 shift …. 3 shifts…. OK. Rest of period to send a message…. I’ll buy

        To me …. this was just a complete power move by Torts. Benching for the rest of the game was absolutely not warranted IMHO

        I can’t think of any other coach that wouldn’t have had him playing a shift in the second just to see how he responded… very short leash… returning shift in second period with the same playing apathy…. now that would be justification for benching the rest of the game. If he did play him for one shift…. I can’t say PLD would have come out very strongly (I would hope and think he would)…. if he did that… team gains , GMJK gains, Torts looks good, PLD looks devoted and gains.

        This didn’t happen; now the situation for sure is a distraction, PLD’s value has diminished; GMJK’s bargaining strength has diminished; players (I’m confident) are not comfortable

        It’s not the benching…. it was the fact that it was for the rest of the game. To me…. Torts was just flexing his muscle at a vastly disproportionate and unnecessary level

  8. Torts makes chicken salad out of chicken sh….t all the time dingle head needed to be benched tail can’t wag the dog. Torts may be best coach in NHL players need to play coaches coach. Sit dingle head until trade can be made he is a distraction.

    • Well, Obe, Tortorella leads the league in players thrown under the bus, that’s for sure. He’s really good at getting rid of talented forwards.
      He was at his best in Vancouver, chasing the other team’s coach down the hall between periods.
      I think he and Mike Babcock would make a dynamite pair up in the announcers’ booth – they could argue about who’s the smartest coach in the history of hockey and how they showed those players who was boss.

      • Still best coach bar none maybe try and find something positive to say sound like dingle head winer

    • Even though I am a Michigan Man, I feel bad for the CBJ’s. How in the hell are they supposed to build a winning franchise if players decide to abandon them for “greener pastures” ? I have only been to Columbus a couple of times, and there is nothing wrong with it. I think Torts is a very good coach, but a PR nightmare, and GMJK is competent, but quiet. I listened to Brian Burke on NHL radio a few days ago, and I agree with his comment that no player who demands to be traded should be allowed to wear his current teams jersey ever again. I watched the CBJ / TB game last night, and the Blue Jackets did just fine without PLD. I hope that JK can trade him for fair value – Columbus deserves better.

    • Torts is a very good coach, who happens to be snap case. Which makes him a short term coach.

      I don’t know about you guys, but I wouldn’t work for somebody who screamed at me if I made a mistake.
      News flash, we all make mistakes, it’s how you learn from them that matters.
      They were discussing PLD last night on TSN, they showed the entire shift. That is what it looks like when an NHL player doesn’t try.
      I don’t know how you play him, if that is the effort level. Dubois has has been one of the best players in the NHL over the last couple years at winning puck battles, we know this because people keep track of them. That wasn’t even close to how he plays. It has changed.
      None of us know the whole story, as there is obviously a history between these two, but now what?

      Bottom line: Life’s too short do deal with a guys like that. And Dubois has said F.U. Torts.

      • Ray what makes you say he is saying F U to torts and not the GM?

        Is PLD that much of a baby that he can’t handle direction?

        Time for PLD to grow up and play for the money he is earning.

      • Fair enough Caper, I don’t know that this is all about Torts. It is my opinion based on the following.

        I do know what I see, and that is clips of Torts screaming at him on the bench in the past. Or Torts screaming at other players throughout his career.
        I also value what Bill Placzek said on this site as he is linked into the scouting community. Which he stated that Torts has been riding him hard on the ice and off. In the typical Torts way.

        That is what I am basing my opinion on.

        I also know that I wouldn’t work with a guy like Torts. And I don’t know why anyone with self respect would take that crap from anyone, anywhere at anytime.
        I think Torts is the baby because he has the emotional control of a child. Seriously, the guy is my age and he can’t control his emotions? If another player did that to Dubois he would likely drop the mitts and have at er. Torts knows that isn’t happening.

        Fair point on the money, he should have sat out, but CLB wanted him signed to help facilitate a trade as well. Don’t know what happened there, but I think both sides wanted him playing.

        Having said all that, you can’t play him if he doesn’t give a crap or even try.
        So now what?

  9. It can’t be good in Clb at the best of times. Torts good -X & O ‘s . Respect and bedside manner brutal. Easier to replace a coach than a player like Dubois . If the player has checked out gotta move.

    Where jam Atkinson on the Pens depth .

    • Dubois spoke to press today. Said reason for trade was between him and management. Pretty much gave standard bs answers about everything else.

  10. Oh yea traded to Min. Want a recall on that deal .

  11. I am a 2 decade resident in CBus and long time fan. The reporting here is Torts and Jarmo are on the same page. Noone knows the reason for Dubois’s unhappiness but his agent & team both continue to contends it is not related to Torts or the contract negotiation process….we’ll see. I encourage everyone to look at Dubois last shift last night it’s all over the internet from the FSO telecast…PLD drifted, ignored playing a 50-50 puck, avoided contact (and he is a physical player), then took almost 10 seconds to skate back to the bench. Friedman made a great point last night, he reported that he sent that clip to multiple hockey coaches/GMs who aren’t Torts’ supporters and they agreed he should be benched or such poor effort.

    • Deacon, Dubois was lazy and unprofessional and deserved to be benched. That’s not up for debate. I repeat my question as above: if Torts isn’t the problem, why do so many star players want out?

      • LJ good question…in fact that’s the million $ question. Panarin insisted he wanted NY, Bob re-signed 2x before his UFA year. He made it clear he wanted to be one of the highest paid goalies and Jarmo made it clear they were not going that high. Those both seem reasonable situations…the PLD thing is tough to understand and tough to swallow for the fans. Is it Torts? Is it the “small market”….I wish I could tell you. What I can say is many players love it here and stay/return after their playing days. If a young player wants LA, NY, MTL, Chi feel, CBus definitely isn’t that…but it certainly isn’t a smaller city than other markets like Denver, St Louis, Nashville….

  12. While this kind of disengagement may facilitate Jarmo to act sooner rather than later, the narrative that somehow he is now a devalued trade asset is understandable but seems more like wishful thinking from fans of the potential acquiring clubs. 20+ GM’s will be very interested in a 22 yr old 1C w/ 4 years of RFA control. Jarmo has shown he is savvy and patient even under difficult circumstances. I stand by my original prediction (for what that’s worth) he will likely go to western conference team unless an eastern team comes up w/ an amazing offer.

    • Agree on the value of Dubois Deacon. He is normally an excellent player, the type of player every team wants actually.
      The only point I would make is that GM’s aren’t going to make Jarmo their best offer after what they saw last night.
      IE MTL – Have the assets IMO, but do they really need to right now? Offer less and wait would be my approach, if you get him for that great.

      • Hi Ray

        Fully agree

        Up to last week the “scuttlebutt” was that Suzuki ++ would be the “requirement” /“necessary needle mover”

        Benching PLD for the rest of the game; IMHO…. Suzuki ++ talk has now gone the way of the Dodo bird

        Before this; IMHO … Habs / Jackets trade had more likelihood than any other team (not inferring that it was “likely” to happen; just that Habs (before last night) were the highest probability of all trade partners)….. now I’m far from convinced

  13. From the standpoint of X’s and O’s there’s no denying Tortorella is a very good coach. It’s no secret however he tends to be one dimensional in the way he approaches players. Or I have never been a supporter of handling players like Dubois with kid gloves, you can’t as a coach plug in the same mindset with every individual. As a TBL fan I distinctly remember Jay Feaster sitting down with both Torts and a then very young Vinny Lecavalier and telling them both that neither of them was going anywhere and they needed to figure it out. Feaster went on to say he would not be remembered as the GM who traded Vinny Lecavalier. Torts is the common denominator here. Maybe it’s time Kekalainen reprised Feaster’s role

  14. Pengy I have the perfect solution.The Bruins give you John Moore.Nothing in return!

    • Hi Steve

      Thanks for your kind offer

      Unfortunately after consideration; I think Pens politely decline

      What’s ur asking on JZ?

      Pens will gladly start the return package with Chad R

  15. You can either get rid of the coach or get rid of all the players. Looks like CBJ is doing the latter. But … “Why?”
    Obviously top free agents don’t want to sign in Columbus.
    Obviously top players either request a trade or exit as soon as their contract expires.
    Win or lose, who could possibly enjoy playing for tortorella???
    And ironic part? tortorella will be GONE at some point, just like all the players who used the exit door in Columbus because of him. Then CBJ will have eliminated the players AND the coach. Probably not a recipe for success in an NHL organization?

  16. If you listen to Friedman’s 31 thoughts podcast from today, he says he talked to some “insider” who told him there is way more to this story than Tort’s. Five bucks says at some point there’s a chick involved.

  17. Sharks are in a terrible bind. Only 1 draft pick in each of the first four rounds and nothing but average talent in their system. Aging stars with little trade value.
    Would PLD coming in for Tomas Hertl be a start in their rebuild? Hertl injury prone since Dustin Brown knee on knee but instant offense for Columbus.
    Desperate for some hope. Anybody have an answer?

    • Hud, no hope.

    • IMO the Sharks are going to have to suck it up this year and look at trading who has value to spark there rebuild, and there is not a lot there.

      Too many old player with extremely large cap hits.

  18. The Bruins can fit PLD in with moving DeBrusk and ? Just leave Carlo and McAvoy alone he would be a nice start to their coming rebuild

    • Perfect player to take over for Krejci next year.
      Maybe add Studnicka with Debrusk.

  19. Torts denied benching Domi. He told reporters that they’d know when he was benching a player. Fast forward to today…….He told the reporters “See, I told ya” just this morning.

    Great big flex from a great big narcissist.
    I like Torts (his tact isn’t for everyone), but he’s mishandling the situation, and Jarmo needs to interject in order to keep the return for PLD high. Time for everyone involved to put egos aside.

    Trade the kid and be done with it, if he’s not gonna fire Torts, or work it out.
    Rest assured, Torts will be fired probably 3-5 more times in his career so it’s Jarmos choice. “Can’t let the tail wag the dog” as I believe Obe said the other day.
    I know what I’d do.

    • SOP, you said that way better than I did.

  20. Habs/Jackets deal is less and less likely while Suzuki or KK are part of the package.

    They are both improving in leaps and bounds and I can’t see either as available.

    I don’t see a home for PLD in Montreal, at least not till the end of the season, no place for him.

    It all depends on Danault and what kind of year he’s going to have.

  21. PLD to Winnipeg with Roslovic plus, going to the Jackets.

    If PLD wants out of Columbus, lets see how he likes Winnipeg.

  22. Coaches like Tortorella can wear thin after a few seasons. Especially if you don’t work hard every opportunity you are given. PLD had to know there was going to be consequences after that floater shift.

    The ask to play for a big market team is BS, in many cases it is a distraction. A players goal should be playing for and contributing to a winning team while being paid his worth.

    2 people are making it uncomfortable for the entire organization, someone needs to go.

  23. Torts in Vancouver didn’t last long. I assume for all the same reasons.

  24. Oilers move RNH + (Piarvi) for Dubois, find a spot for Dubois 3rd center or shot gun with Mcdavid or Draisatl. Can always move him if it doesn’t work….

  25. Makes zero sense but hey Rays taxes are going up so who knows.

  26. PLD is the cancer, not Torts. I thought JK was smart to pick him before Pulju, not anymore.