NHL Rumor Mill – January 30, 2021

by | Jan 30, 2021 | Rumors | 53 comments

Check out the latest on the Penguins, Ducks and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Dan Kingerski addresses some of the conspiracy theories surround Jim Rutherford’s decision earlier this week to step down as general manager of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Among them was speculation Rutherford was working on trading center Evgeni Malkin or defenseman Kris Letang but team co-owner Mario Lemieux blocked those moves. Kingerski dismissed that conjecture, pointing out the difficulty in keeping such a trade under wraps, especially involving Malkin, who would have to waive his no-movement clause to make it happen. He pointed out not a single legitimate reporter had a whiff that type of deal was being worked on.

The last time a team kicked the tires on Malkin, we knew it,” said Kingerski, referring to 2019 when the Florida Panthers made a pitch. The internal conclusions were that Malkin, Letang and team captain Sidney Crosby should retire as Penguins.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Many trades happen that catch most insiders by surprise. However, in today’s salary cap world where superstars like Malkin a measure of control over where they play because of their no-trade clauses, moving a player of his stature wasn’t something that could be kept quiet.

I agree with Kingerski that Rutherford’s decision to step down had nothing to do with any supposed blocked attempt to trade one of the Penguins’ stars. Rutherford even subsequently dismissed that notion.

Recalling the Malkin chatter during the summer of 2019, it sounded to me like two general managers spit-balling, a “Hey, what would you want in return for Malkin?” kind of discussion. Even then, it still leaked out and was duly noted in the press.

We might someday learn the real reason behind Rutherford’s departure. I doubt it’ll be because of a thwarted attempt to trade a Penguins star.

THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi reports the Penguins’ early shortlist of potential replacements for Rutherford includes New York Rangers assistant GM Chris Drury, Boston Bruins director of player personnel John Ferguson Jr, Los Angeles Kings adviser Ron Hextall, Colorado Avalanche assistant GM Chris MacFarland, and Montreal Canadiens assistant GM Scott Mellanby.

Rossi also reports signing Malkin to a new contract will be the next general manager’s top priority. The Penguins ownership wants Malkin, Crosby and Letang to retire as Penguins but also wants the new GM to prioritize retooling around those aging stars.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That shortlist provides a good indication of what the Penguins are looking for in their new general manager. Those candidates seem best suited to implement ownership’s plan of building around their veteran stars.


THE ATHLETIC: During a recent mailbag segment, Eric Stephens was asked if Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray would consider moving one or two core players like Rickard Rakell, Jakub Silfverberg, Adam Henrique, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson or Hampus Lindholm for future assets to fit in alongside promising youngsters like Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale.

Stephens doubts Murray wants to move players of importance to his roster. He also notes the Ducks lack the salary-cap space to bring in free-agent help, while making cost-cutting deals for prospects and draft picks opens up more holes in the roster. They could be filled with younger players provided they’re ready to do so and be more productive than the players you’ve traded away.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Murray entered this season believing his club can compete for a playoff spot. He’s not ready to blow up his roster and start rebuilding but wants instead to improve what he’s currently got. That’s why he looked into acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois and Patrik Laine before they were swapped for each other last Saturday by the Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets.

Maybe he reaches that point this summer if the Ducks fail to qualify for the postseason. For now, he’s going to stick with his core while transitioning younger players into the lineup.


ARIZONA COYOTES INSIDER: During a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked if the Coyotes would have any interest in St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn. Morgan acknowledged Coyotes general manager Bill Armstrong has a connection with Dunn from his days as Blues assistant GM.

The problem, however, is the Coyotes would have to move out another blueliner to make room. Dunn is also a left-hand shot and the Coyotes need more right-hand rearguards. There are also questions about Dunn’s commitment to training and his attitude.

Asked about possible moves this season by the Coyotes, Morgan believes they could involve players on expiring contracts who could be shopped at the trade deadline. They include Alex Goligoski, Jason Demers, Niklas Hjalmarsson and Antti Raanta.


  1. All offseason Dun was an attractive acquisition. Now there is “questions about Dunn’s commitment to training and his attitude” where did that come from? Or did I just miss it earlier?

    • I was wondering the same thing, Dunn was an attraction with a possible decent return.

      The Jets could have used him.

      The Leafs could have signed him instead of the two pylons.

      • He would be a nice fit on the Penguins second unit with john marino…and we can move that soft giant Pettersson who is overpaid and fragile….

  2. My top picks for new Pens GM are : Hextall, Mellanby & Hunter

    And I’m all for Malkin & Letang retiring as Penguins as long as they do it tonight … disinterested turnover machines

    first thing the new GM has to do is to get some NHL caliber defencemen on the roster … next to Detroit this is the worst group in the league …

    whoever gets the job … good luck

    • Disinterested is a pretty accurate description.

    • No way in hell an X Flyer HEXTALL or MELLANBY is going to be the GM of the Penguins


  3. What a shot at Dunlap from kingerski!

    • Hi Chrisms

      It wasn’t just Kingerski that squashed the idea that Dunlap put out there( Jimbo left due to owners nixing a Tanger or Gino move)…. it was several reporters… Rossi was the first…. that said that in no way was that the reason Jimbo up and left

      So either Dunlap made it up or he needs to cut ties with his “number of sources”

      I fully agree with Kingerski and Lyle…. any negotiation on a trade of Tanger or Gino…. it would have come out beforehand

      • Pengy..something happened and if Rutherford isnt talking management is painting Rose’s on this..it was a nixed trade..99% sure.

        Who what dont know.

        No wY in hell HEXTALL mellanby new GM no x flyers

      • Hi John

        At first I bought in to it but since there are so many reporters now saying that story was complete bogus ; and absolutely none but Dunlap supporting it; AND Jimbo saying that a trade block/ interference was definitely not the reason he left…. I am now no more than 1% convinced he left due to a trade block/interference by owners

        What the reason was ???? But not because he wanted to trade Tanger and was not allowed to

        I’m happy he is gone; but his abrupt exodus is just as problematic as some of his brain fart moves over the last 2 1/2 years.

        Certainly not as bad as the JJ signing; but up there

      • Pengy..my nephew just sent me some news from Pittsburgh that finally leaked out.

        Rutherford did indeed have a deal in place to move Kris Letang to the Montreal Canadiens that was nixed by lemieux and company.

        I do know young 22 year old defenseman victor Mete was coming to Pittsburgh..not sure what elase..

        Mete can skate, pass, is skilled would be a nice fit…lefthanded

        He is 22, Pierre Oliver Joseph 21 and 24 John. Marino were set for a decade..and William Reilly is now on the taxi squad..

        He is coming soon

      • Couple of points about the “Letang to Montreal” thing.

        First, the dollars don’t fit. The Canadiens are pressed for cap space and are juggling players at times to and from their taxi squad to remain under the cap. Letang’s $7.25 million AAV for this season and next isn’t a fit there. Moving Mete’s $735K certainly wouldn’t have cut it. There would’ve had to be a significant salary or two coming from Montreal, or the Pens would’ve had to eat a healthy chunk of Letang’s AAV. Either way, I don’t see a fit there cap-wise.

        Second, why would the Canadiens be interested in Letang? They’re currently doing just fine with their blueline tandems. The addition of Romanov and Edmundsen brought in a nice mixture of skill in the former and toughness in the latter. They’re 5-0-2 to start the season. Why swing that blockbuster? Again, it makes no sense.

        Third, as Dan Kingerski of Pittsburgh Hockey Now observed, a deal involving a core player like Letang would’ve leaked long before Rutherford bailed. Even if we didn’t know where he was going, the fact his name would be out there would be known before long.

        Sorry, not buying the Letang-to-Montreal theory.

      • But


        Bng’s nephew said it!

        Hey bng. I live in Pittsburgh and could use a buddy. A in the know buddy. Could you hook a brotha up?

        Also. Trades have absolutely come outta nowhere in the past so this the media woulda known stuff reeks like yesterday’s diapers!

        Anyone get the reference btw?

  4. Why do we always see the same ex GM’s names out there that have been fired. Most of which made a couple horrendous deals. Botterel, Hextall, Gillis, etc. That’s led to their being fired. Give an asst. GM a shot that’s had success long term. (Tampa/Boston/Avs) I think Rutherford left Pens in a bad spot, but, he was least qualified to bring it back around. (spare me w/ winning cups speak)

    • Ahh, setting the stage for Ray Shero’s return – yep, I’m throwing it out there. LOL

  5. Many of the Flyers’ fine young players are there thanks to Hextall. He was steadily crafting an excellent team when his impatient superiors sacked him because he wasn’t moving quickly enough to suit them. He would have succeeded had his team been as patient with him as the Habs have been with Marc Bergevin. I reckon Hextall deserves another shot.

    • Mark, Hextall build a good young nucleus in Philly

      If you got the patience he the man

      But it sound like Pitts wants to win with Crosby, Malkin and Letang. For that reason he might not be the answer in Pitts.

      I do think Hextall will get another chance and should.


    • When Hextall took over as GM he had to deal with several longterm horrible contracts . He had no cap space to work with . He did an amazing job given what he had to work with . Thats why his rebuild took time . I agree that Hextall deserves a second chance somewhere .

    • Personally would like to see Billy Guerin step down in Minnesota and come back home to Pittsburgh. My first choice would be Ron Francis but no way he’s leaving the opportunity he has with the Kraken.

  6. I also have not read previous concerns regarding Dunn’s commitment/conditioning—Berube even said he “loves the kid”. Maybe the contract delay pushing right to the start of camp played a part?? He maybe didn’t step to camp in the best shape and may be “bitter” regarding negotiations/$$s.

    I have also found myself wondering if Armstrong/Armstrong would be comfortable trading partners!? There are a lot of directions to look—MAYBE Hjalmarsson with some $$$ held), MAYBE Raanta for some veteran backup to help Binnington, MAYBE one of the Coyotes youth like Crouse or Fischer. Possibly a bigger package that includes Dunn and Sanford?? Lots to ponder.

    • Iowa, yeah those trade possibilities seem to make sense with Arizona.
      Don’t know how Bennington is playing but I have seen playoff flashes that never really pan out in the long run.
      One guy who people may not even have head of is Penny in Montreal in the 80’s was outstanding in the playoffs then fizzled the next year.

  7. A couple of years ago I told a Pens fan friend of mine the Pens would end up like the Red Wings did. It is inevitable. Winning for a long time begets losing the way the system is set up.

    • Hi Biloxi Wing

      Sad but possibly true statement

      • PENGY… Penguins big two points Crosby in OT 5-4…

        POJ 3 assists, Zucker Tanev Guentzel Kapanen good goals.

        The best will s it in OT

  8. If Wild are in the playoff picture and the Pens are not I say Malkin rumors start

    Matthew Boldy looking decent in the World Juniors. start there. no idea how salary cap would work but fit is there

    • I will feed my own crazy thread

      If Malkin gets Pens Boldy+a 1st
      Sid gets Cole Caufield+ KK+pick

      why would Pens not do that?

      • Cause Sid will retire a penguin for life.

      • I agree with Chrisms

        The only exception to that (and it’s a long shot) is Sid coveting another cup and asking to be moved to Avs to play with Mac K

        Again… a long shot… but the only one I see where Sid does not end his career in Pitt

      • Riddle me this, how do the Habs fit Sid under the cap???

        Atleast two roster players need to be moved other than Kotkaniemi .

        That would mean Danault & Tatar (both UFAs) or Danault & Byron. Then they would still need to Caufield, Guhle & at least 1st & 2nd rounder.

        As much as I would love to Sid in his & my beloved Habs jersey, it just ain’t happenin’ !!!!

      • Yes & I forgot to mention that the Pens would need to retain 20% of Sids remaining contract. Also, not happening.

      • The Pens cupboard is slim pickings

        but if history repeats in two seasons they start drafting in top 5 a few times and are back

        there is no reason both sid and malkin need to retire as penguins

        and sid will always be the #2 behind mario.

        re: habs cap issue. danuelt is easy to move. two way center that can be move up and down

      • Sorry, as much as a legend Sid rightfully is, we’ll pass on KK+ Caufield, for a few years of him. Also, the money doesn’t work. In French, we say ” c’est n’importe quoi” ; it just doesn’t make sense

      • Sorry, as much as a legend Sid rightfully is, we’ll pass on KK+ Caufield, for a few years of him. Also, the money doesn’t work. In French, we say ” c’est n’importe quoi” ; it just doesn’t make sense

      • Will you now? I wouldn’t take sizucki Romanov and three first round picks over the next several years for Sid. There is a pleasure watching generational talent seed, grow and eventually fade under your banner that is worth more than… at least any non senior citizen Montreal fan can appreciate.

    • ds…. they lost Dumba to a serious injury tonight and got blown out by Colorado…and Fiala is out 3 games suspension…

      They are an improved bunch though… should get that 4th spot

  9. Rutherford is 71. Might be getting a little tired ” the answer is blowing in the wind” .

    I have said all a long the Ducks have some assets. I don’t know why they are not winning. Certainly isn’t Gibson. They should be able to make a transformational type trade.

    • Hi Silver7

      I just turned 60… I’ve been tired of Jimbo for a while…. LOL

    • Silverscreen …the Ducks were doing ok keeping goals against down but they got blown out by St .louis tonight in Anaheim

      The only place i think Malkin would waive his no trade clause is to the New York Rangers. His wife loves New York she is some type of Russian T.V. CELEB..

      Hell at this point Ill take Chris Kreider and a pick and call it a day

  10. Per Rossi, early short list for Pitt GM includes McFarland, Drury, and Mellanby …. those three on the early short list and not Botterill??

    That is strange. Very strange.

    To me there should only be 4 on the list … Botteril, Hextall, Gillis and perhaps Hunter

    My preference would be for Botterill with Hextall a close second

    BTW …. still dizzying that Maguire was even mentioned….. that would easily reduce Pen’s fan ship by 1/2

    • @ Pengy
      Article on insidepittsburghsports,com said Rutherford was closing in on a deal with the Montreal Canadiens for 22 year old right handed young defenseman Victor Mete…wish he would have completed that deal before he left.

      Victor Mete can play but Montreal is loaded on defense and he can’t get in the line up…we aren’t loaded on defense.

      I’m not sure who was going the other way the article didn’t say but he would be a nice fit for now and the future.

      You put a blossoming young 22 year old Mete, with a blossoming 21 year old Pierre Oliver Joseph, and a young 24 year old John Marino with have a solid three on defense for the next decade…..

      Plus young 23 year old defenseman former RPI captain William Reilly is now on the NHL Taxi squad….he is coming soon


      • Sorry lefthanded 22 year old victor mete Montreal Canadiens

      • Hi BnG

        Agree Mete would have been a plus on Pens weakened D

        I would prefer a move on Dunn…. but he’d be costly

        I’m liking PO-J a lot

        Marino was horrific first 7 games but did a pretty fair turnaround on his play during last game.

        I knew he’d come out of the slump 👍👍

        For the next short-while, the goal must be to play at 500 or better; until fully healthy

        Once healthy


        Marino/Pettersson (I know you don’t like Pettersson but Marino/Pettersson was starting to gel very well end of last season)

        PO-J/ Riikola (a lefty who is equally adept on RHD) or Ceci or Weber or Reilly (3RD must NOT be CR)

        If Zucker continues like he has for 7 of the first 8 games (passes … giving and receiving completely fumbled , shots way off target, and repetitive panicked dumps giving away possession) and he is NOT injured (my guess as to why his passing and shooting game is so off) … then he MUST go

        Pens in 5th now (Sabres won) ….. so ….

        Fingers crossed on a win tonight

      • Not sure I’d buy into the habs trade blackngold. cap is one issue and the habs don’t need another d-man. that’s the reason for Mete not playing.
        Weber and Chiarot have been beasts. Petry is picking up where he left off last season, Romanov is playing like a 5 year player. Just got Edmundson and Kulak looking better every game. Just don’t see a need for a Letang.

    • That was good Caper. The part about Lafontaine was something. I didn’t know that.
      Both standup guys.

  11. Chrisms..he sent me the blurb..I wouldnt just throw it out there…

    You’ll see be patient

    • My nephew sent me a shart once.

      • You’ll see dont be a dick..watch some hockey shows it will come out.

        Penguins 5-4 Ot win Crosby ot winner

        You all keep throwing dirt on this team go ahead…

  12. A player like Malkin used to show in years past that, when Crosby would get hurt, that he could put the team on his back and surge forward. I’d hesitate to say he’s simply lost a step with age, that may be a small part of it, but it seems likely that perhaps he and some of the other players have become disenchanted with the direction of the team the last few seasons and maybe has just had enough? No knock on Sullivan, but maybe the coaching carousel continues there to re-energize some of the guys. Helloooooooo Darryl Sutter!

    • And by carousel I mean going back a decade. Sullivan is just the kid who never gets off the ride heh heh.

    • I agree that Malkin seems to dominate best when Sid is out