NHL Rumor Mill – January 29, 2021

by | Jan 29, 2021 | Rumors | 47 comments

Check out the latest on the Penguins and Canucks in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger wonders what other changes could be in store for the Pittsburgh Penguins as they search for a new general manager after Jim Rutherford stepped down earlier this week.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images)

If the Penguins miss the playoffs or don’t do well in the postseason there could be potential for a seismic shift. Dreger feels the organization owes it to Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang to have a conversation over the direction of the club under new management. He wonders if they will want to chase a Stanley Cup elsewhere or retire as Penguins. “But, imagine if those names were in play at some point in the near future?”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins’ attitude remains “win now” but that could change if things go sideways this season. Of the three, Malkin and Letang could face the more uncertain futures with the organization. Both are slated to become unrestricted free agents in 2022 while Crosby’s under contract until the end of 2024-25.

If there’s a change in direction after this season the new GM will have to discuss it with Crosby, Malkin and Letang to determine where those three fit into the club’s long-term plans. Crosby and Malkin have full no-movement clauses while Letang has an 18-team trade list.

They’re obviously not going anywhere during this season but this situation could be worth watching this summer.

Meanwhile, Pierre LeBrun reports 20 different candidates have reached out to the Penguins to indicate interest in their vacant GM position. They include Jason Botterill, Chris Drury, Ron Hextall, Mark Hunter, Tom Fitzgerald, Peter Chiarelli, Scott Mellanby, Mike Gillis, Laurence Gilman, John Ferguson Jr and Mike Futa. Interim GM Patrik Allvin will also be under consideration.

THE ATHLETIC: Sean Gentille also looked at some possible candidates to replace Rutherford. Among his suggestions are old friends of team owner Mario Lemieux such as agent Pat Brisson, NHL analyst Pierre McGuire and Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin.

Others could include Dean Lombardi, Colorado Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland, NHL analyst Kevin Weekes, and Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Penguins won’t lack for suitable candidates. I don’t see Bergevin getting hired unless he quits the Canadiens or is fired by team owner Geoff Molson. The New Jersey Devils could be reluctant to part with current GM Tom Fitzgerald.

McGuire always comes up as a GM candidate but seems to get courtesy interviews before being passed over. He hasn’t been in a management position in over a quarter-century. Brisson seems happy in his role as one of the most powerful player agents in hockey.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports he’s sure the Vancouver Canucks are looking around for help on their blueline but there are no guarantees they’re getting it. He indicated defensemen such as the Montreal Canadiens’ Victor Mete, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Travis Dermott and the St. Louis Blues’ Vince Dunn could be available.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks stumbled out of the gate in part because of their porous defense but recently swept their three-game series with the struggling Ottawa Senators. That could buy management a bit of breathing room while they evaluate their defensive game.

We don’t know what the Canadiens’ asking price for Mete could be. The Leafs are said to be looking for some depth at forward while the Blues’ asking price for Dunn is reportedly a first-round pick or as high a draft pick as they can get for him.


  1. Suggestions of McGuire, Bergevin or Brisson for Pens GM are nothing short of idiotic. There’s no way Bergevin’s leaving the Habs now – not when his moves may finally be starting to pay off. Brisson is content to remain a hugely successful player agent. And McGuire is a complete incompetent.

    • And McGuire was pretty much an abject failure in his previous stint as a head coach, and has no GM experience. Or at least none that I could find while doing a cursory check. He even managed a losing record as coach in the ECHL.

      I never understood the mindset of “he’s on TV, so he knows what he’s doing.” Uh, no. No he doesn’t. Or maybe he does, but nothing indicates that he has anything in his past to merit bypassing most (any?) of those other names on the list.

      • I did not take the idea of McGuire seriously in the past….until I heard him on TSN 690 talking about how he would get Subban back on track for the Habs (this was way back before the trade and Subban’s current issues). He made so much sense. He is obviously a crap coach; no question. Interesting option for GM though.

        That said, out of the options, I personally look very hard at Hextal. He was building something in Philly before he got dumped, unfairly to me. I would be more comfortable with McGuire as an assistant GM, if the GM wanted him…

      • Craig Button, another noted mastermind is also on tv.

    • I would put Hextall near the top of the list.

      • A former flyer in the burgh?

        Maybe he could hire rob brown as an assistant

    • Bergevin, my favourite GM in hockey.

  2. Personally, I’d like to see Hunter get a chance after Toronto let him down.

  3. I think it would be terrible news for Pengy if they ever decided to hire Pierre. That would be the GM version of having JJ back on the blue line. Lol

    • 1,000,000,000 % true Yes Guy

      What are they thinking even mentioning Maguire as a potential candidate?

      Over Sid’s dead body

      Not happening!!!

      Maguire asking for Kendall Coyne’s hand in marriage happens before he is named Pens GM

      The Horror

  4. I dont understand how they can believe that Dunn is worth a 1st rounder. First of all, they would have to expose him at the expansion draft and then he just got scratched.

  5. Please people stop trashing Pierre Mcguire!!

    Someone need to hire him, I need him off the airwaves.

    • A valid point, Caper. My apologies for not helping your cause.

    • Caper,

      Mcguire and Jack Edwards are the absolute worst. Both make watching a game borderline unbearable.

      • Ron as a Bruin fan i concur.

        Not a fan of Jack works at all.

      • you think listening to those guys are bad you should try listening to the Avalanche in -between period broadcast, a couple of clowns who shouldn’t even be doing the game, really pathetic!!!!!!!

    • LOL … so true Caper

      Maguire needs to send a tape in to Micky Dees with him saying “would you like fries with that?”…. perhaps that is a better future for all (save for those at that Micky Dees’ drive-through)

      • That should have been directed to both Ron and Caper

  6. Can a current GM reach out to another team for their open GM position – I didn’t think so without ownership permission. So why is Fitz’s name on Lebrun’s list?

  7. Matt Grzelcyk injury might be long term already ruled out for Saturday game …. Bruins have pieces that can get them a legit top 4 Dman who can play the PP and the D part of the game ….Sweeney wake up

  8. Pierre Maguire as Pens GM….. are they out of their 🤬😡💩‘ng minds?

    No way Jose

    That would be nailing the coffin shut on an already sliding franchise

    Bergevin? WTF? He’s going to jump ship from a team that is doing excellent and as at now; IS a legit contender … Nope

    Chiarelli… no thanks

    Kevin Weeks? Great guy… I like him… but absolutely zero applicable experience

    My favs for the job in order…

    Botteril ; Gillis; Hextall; Hunter

    Choose from those 4 and Pens are salvageable

    • No way in hell a flyer as Penguins Gm nsver



    • As Vine McMahon the boss of WWE would say!





  9. Wanted : GM for NHL team located in Pittsburgh.

    Job includes no salary cap room, no top tier prospects, no first round draft pick.

    Team also comes with an aging Sidney Crosby, whats left of Evgeni Malkin, over rated defenceman Kris Leturnover. Porous AHL calibre defence and 2 minor league goalies.

    Now who wouldnt want a dream job like that? What a mess.

    • Hi Ron

      I’m selling my company and applying for the job

      I have just turned 60 (ouch!) and have no GM experience in hockey; but I am a successful businessman

      I’m comfortable with wealth so money not an issue; would do the job for $200 K

      I’m 100% confident that I can do far better than Pierre Maguire

      I already go by the handle of “Pengy”

      I may not be handsome anymore… but I do appreciate the odd Dos Equis

      What’s my odds of successfully getting the job?

      • Pengy,

        Better you than Mcguire.

      • I’ll take that as a compliment ; I think. LOL

      • Pengy, will you still come here and fill us in on the inside knowledge you acquire? Especially other GM’s responses to your 3 team, 8 player trade proposals?

      • Ha!

      • Hi Slick

        LOL…Will keep you up to date on those

        In fact with me at the helm… count on those multiplayer multi-team moves as regular occurences

    • It seems as if at least 20 people want the job. At least according to Pierre Lebrun.

      I don’t see the Pens GM job and circumstance as so dire. After the 2021 draft the team has its full compliment of picks for years to come. They could also turn some of that aging talent into draft picks. Keep Sid because he’s the face of the franchise. Sell everything off that’s worth anything(Guentzel, Rust, Marino, etc..). Tank for a few years and draft low.

      Isn’t that how winning franchises are built? It’s worked in Pittsburgh before. To the tune of 5 Stanley Cups.

    • Hey Ron Ron..Pittsburgh Penguins are a model FRANCHISE with good ownership
      Who are u kidding malkin is struggling and malkin is a mess..Crosby 7 pts could easily have 10 he isnt declining yet.

      Penguins farm team has three good defenseman coming. In Cam Lee, Joshua Maniscalco, and RPI Captain William Reilly and Pierre oliver Joseph who is now in the line up

      Forward prospects I agree a bit bare. Only sammy poulin and drew O’Connor

      Kapanen 24
      Guentzel 26
      McCann. 24
      Jankowski 26
      Pettersson 24
      Joseph. 21
      Marino. 24

      Zucker. Rust both 28 Tanev 29. In their primes

      Crosby still elite

      Malkin letNg aging disinterested. Yes

      Malkin’s off the books after next season that’s $9.5 million free to add and letang too that’s $17.5 for both…

      I wouldnt throw dirt on them

      Ovechkin still going strong at 35 sidney is 33he will stay excellent.

  10. Re

    “ If there’s a change in direction after this season the new GM will have to discuss it with Crosby, Malkin and Letang to determine where those three fit into the club’s long-term plans. Crosby and Malkin have full no-movement clauses while Letang has an 18-team trade list.
    They’re obviously not going anywhere during this season but this situation could be worth watching this summer.”

    I’m quite sure those conversations will happen

    Re nothing happening during the season…. I can’t definitively say that won’t happen for sure

    Let’s say Pens are 10 points out of 4th , and in 7th place approaching TDL; the ship is sinking fast; no chance for a resurgence this year and obviously come off-season… a total rebuild is going to start…. if that situation arises (not outlandish thinking after watching last night’s game)…. then convos with Sid, Gino, Tanger just might happen

    Again far fetched… but let’s say the above case transpires and Sid is at wit’s end; covets another Cup AND Sackic wants to absolutely go all in…

    Is Sid/Tanger (with retention to balance Cap) for Landeskog/ Johnston ; plus a mitt full of picks/prospects in the cards?

    Avs with McC, Sid, Kadri down the centre would have to immediately jump to SC fav for not only this year but next year and perhaps also two years from now

    Stranger things have happened (Gretzky was traded in his prime! from a team that had won cups in 4 of the previous 5 years; and had been in the SC finals 5 of previous 6 years)

    As a Pens fan… please get a strong and qualified GM in quick; please have injuries heal quickly; please light a fire under Gino; please stabilize the line combos; and either fix Zucker (I’m still thinking he must be playing through a hand or wrist injury) or move him (a must if he is actually not hurt)

    Go Pens Go

    • Pengy l know you also cheer for the Leafs. I’m a Leafs fan. I’m not going to try and figure out the numbers and the rest of this deal, but how bout Crosby to Toronto for Marner.

      • Crosby on either of my two fav teams 👍👍👍👍

        That said…. still almost 1/2 Leaf Cap on 4 Fwds…. not a cup winning formulae

        I still say best move for Leafs is moving one of the top 4 and getting a top 3 D (young) back; and a return that nets cap space

        AM not going

        JT won’t (his choice)

        So it is MMor WW; and there aren’t any teams with space and need/want and top 3 young D coming back; to take on MM

        So ….. it’s got to be WW

        And his contract (due to heavy SB already paid) at $7M in Cap but basically cash AAV of ~ $5M per…. very attractive

        Go Leafs Go

        Go Pens Go

    • Crosby isnt going to Colorado….PERIOD

  11. Gino to Rangers or Panthers, if not Russia probably

    • You might be on to something. Ir’s been reported that Malkin’s family is living in Florida.

  12. Bruins fans here why wouldn’t the Bruins ring up the Blues about Vince Dunn if he’s available

    • They probably have. Seems like STL may need to come down a bit on their asking price though. If they are really asking for a 1st round pick for a bottom pairing defenseman on a 1 year contract there’s no way Sweeney should consider that. Closer to the deadline, there will likely be better players available for a first rounder.

      Boston is also playing really well right now and are still figuring out if some of their young defenders are fully ready for bigger minutes. I think waiting at this point is the right move.

  13. If the Penguins could get Lou Lamoriello and Mark Hunter to run that team,they might get it together.

    The team needs a guy who gets respect from the get go, Lou.

    The team needs a hockey man who can evaluate, Mark.

  14. People keen to throw pens to the wolves right now. A team that is treading water despite having to play their 7th 8th 9th d men due to injuries. Despite growing pains from their young goalie. Despite a slow start from malkin… a point + per game player just last year.
    Concerns? Sure. Trash the whole thing and start over? Not yet.

    Also I do not believe Mario has the stomach for a rebuild. When that time comes I expect he sells all or almost all and bows out. That would be the sign of the end.

    • A voice of reason well said Chrisms…

      The Penguins once they get DuMoulin back, Peterson back, and now they have added Yannick weber a solid third pairing RHD the team they will be better.

      Yannick Weber has a cannon shot, skates well, has some snarl, we can now get Kris I wont shoot the puck from the point on the power play to the second unit.

      # 1 DuMoulin Marino

      # 2 Peterson Letang

      # Pierre Oliver Joseph Yannick Weber

      • worst defence in hockey … next to Detroit

  15. Mike Vellucci, presently a Penguins assistant coach, was previously general manager and head coach of the Penguins’ AHL club. With so many teams already downsizing their non-playing personnel for financial reasons, I would think the Penguins could look to hire from in-house for the same reasons.

    I’m not a fan of round robin hiring from a pool of already-failed contestants.

    • Absolutely. They will most likely hire in house and pay as little as possible.

      I’m a firm believer that Sid ends up playing out his career (after this contract) in Montreal.