NHL Rumor Mill – January 6, 2021

by | Jan 6, 2021 | Rumors | 38 comments

Updates on Patrik Laine, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Mathew Barzal, and more in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: In his first “31 Thoughts” column of 2021, Elliotte Friedman weighed in on the future of Patrik Laine with the Winnipeg Jets. The 22-year-old has been the subject of trade speculation for some time.

Winnipeg Jets winger Patrik Laine (NHL Images).

Friedman said Laine arrived in Winnipeg with the understanding he could be a Jet for the entire season. If Laine wants a trade his best option is to fill the net with pucks.

The Philadelphia Flyers considered acquiring the winger a few months ago but the cost in assets and salary proved too expensive. Friedman feels the Columbus Blue Jackets could be a suitor if Laine were to commit to staying in Columbus, assuming a trade could be worked out.

Speaking of the Blue Jackets, Friedman feels there currently isn’t much optimism in fixing the situation between the organization and Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 22-year-old center reportedly seeks a trade despite signing a two-year contract last week.

Several sources tell Friedman not to lay blame for this situation solely at the feet of Jackets head coach John Tortorella. The feeling is Dubois wants to perform on a bigger stage. In other words, a bigger market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some folks have suggested swapping Laine for Dubois, but getting either player to commit to their new cities could be the big sticking point. Winnipeg wouldn’t fit Dubois’ supposed desire to play in a big market.

As I’ve said before, moving Laine or Dubois seems unlikely during the regular season. Right now, they’re both too important to their respective clubs’ playoff hopes. It could also prove difficult to find suitable returns before the Apr. 12 trade deadline. I’m expecting they’ll get shopped during the offseason.

Friedman feels a long-term deal between the New York Islanders and Mathew Barzal doesn’t seem likely because of the team’s salary-cap situation. He expects the Barzal camp prefers contracts comparable to Toronto’s Mitch Marner or Colorado’s Mikko Rantanen but that’s not possible for the Isles at this point. Friedman speculates Barzal could get a two- or three-year deal worth around $6 million per season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Barzal is in camp though he can’t train with his teammates until he’s under contract. The Isles could go as high as $7 million annually for Barzal but I agree it’ll be a short-term deal with the promise of a long, lucrative contract down the road.

The Isles have also tried to move defenseman Thomas Hickey (with a sweetener). Half his $2.5 million cap hit for this season has been paid out in a signing bonus. He’s got one year left on his contract.

The Boston Bruins and New Jersey Devils are among the clubs interested in free-agent defenseman Ben Hutton.

Every time Friedman sees a commercial starring Sidney Crosby and Nathan MacKinnon, he wonders if they’ll find a way to play together someday.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Unless it’s as teammates with Team Canada in the Olympics or the World Cup of Hockey, don’t expect to see that happen in the NHL anytime soon.

MacKinnon, 25, is the Colorado Avalanche’s franchise player. While his contract expires in 2023, the Avs will open the vault to keep him in Denver. The 33-year-old Crosby’s best seasons may be behind him but he remains the Penguins’ top player and among the league’s elite. He’s also under contract until 2025 with a full no-movement clause.


  1. I really enjoy Friedman’s columns, however I take them with a grain of salt. When he is tweeting breaking news my ears perk up because something typically happens within 24 hours. So what Friedman is saying is that nothing is happening with Laine and PLD until after the season. Ho-hum.
    I don’t get to watch King’s or Vancouver games on the east cost, interested if anyone has any color on Hutton – asking as a Devs fan.

    • Hutton is ok as a 3rd pairing D. He can surprise but just as easily disappoint. The right coach & blend of players & he’s worth a shot.

      He’s not rugged but he can skate pretty good. His 1st year in Van he showed real promise but it didn’t last.

    • I will
      Dubois to NYR confirmed.

  2. Rather see the Bruins play the players in their system than bring someone in like him ( Hutton ) & his -70 NHL play


    • I love me some fried jumbo with carmilized onions and ketchup.

  4. Interesting question. I’ve cut bread out of my diet, so I’d probably have to say………cucumber sandwich, no bread, and some lemon pepper on top.

    • SOP, nice pick but you’d be burping all afternoon.

  5. This site made me actually laugh out loud this AM.
    2 for 2 Nyr.

  6. JLD wants a big market, Winnipeg isn’t a big market. But if you want everyone to know your name, where you ate at, what lake you went fishing or golf course spotted at, then maybe Winnipeg is the place for him.

    • Maybe if they played hockey in the summer WPG would be a destination for players.
      Plenty of lakes, with plenty of fish in them. Lots of sun and golf courses.
      I can think of worse places to spend the summer.

    • HEY…Can I get in on this?

      Just like any team that plays the leafs in the first round!

  7. The Sid/McK on same NHL team would be awesome but as you’ve alluded Lyle… almost assuredly to remain permanently a pipe dream

    Not a chance that McK will come east to a team that will be rebuilding in 2 years

    The only glimmer of a possibility of that duo on same NHL team soon …. is Pens going 10 W 20 L by TDL; AND Jimbo capitulating AND immediately starting the rebuild; AND Sid agreeing to move West; AND Sackic going absolutely all in this year

    Add (well actually multiply them) all those extreme rarities (each extraordinarily low in probability) ….. and then let’s just call it….mmmmmmmmm……. not happening

    • Avs loaded for another mini-dynasty with their prospects+ current young players

      They could send 2 recent 1st rounders for 33 year old Sid and that would not hurt them in the least

      Shane Bowers 
      Martin Kaut 
       Alex Newhook

      • Hi ds

        Agree Avs are right there on the precipice of possible dynasty type of situation…. their only risk of falling short in the near future; potentially, is in Goal

        Their duo IMHO , will get them to the Div finals against Knights; but can they win against them?? Can’t see that duo winning the cup right now

        As I said…. extraordinary long long shot with Sid and Mac K on same NHL team…. but would be awesome

      • SD, remember when Joe Sakic was considered a terrible GM?
        Remember Patrick Roy?
        Joe’s so much smarter these days, isn’t he?

      • @pengy
        agree on the net issues.

    • NHL history says it isn’t a pipe dream as star players are frequently traded in their twilight years as a feel good story a la Ray Bourque.

      Sid isn’t in his twilight years but he’s getting there and the Penguins are past their best before date.

      A few years from now as the Avalanche continue to ascend, Sid just may join MacKinnon that fans league wide might enjoy.

  8. Lyle aren’t you contractually required to delete this thread since your site is sponsored by Firehouse Subs today? Lol

  9. Not bad NYR4. Just a quick question. Why , in your fantasy er hypothetical, have you invited Jared over for a dip?

  10. Nice new? Logo there Lyle. One of your anniversaries you should do a throw back or retro look just to freak people out. Quite a ways from those…what color would you call that pages? Hahaha

    When can we post our seasons predictions? Like when you think of the divisions, there’s a lot of serious question marks for just about every team plus add in a highly contagious illness players will get make it that much more of a tire fire.

    • Glad you like the new logo, Ron. Post your season predictions anytime you wish. Cheers!

    • Scotia BANK IT division

      EDM (goaltending kills them)

      • Regular season:

        EDM (Koskinen gets some respect)

        Bold predictions:
        Puljujarvi establishes himself as an NHL player and then thrives in the playoffs after he takes over Kassian’s spot on McDavid’s wing because Kassian snaps on Tkachuk again and gets suspended for 20.
        Leafs finally win a round.
        Oilers roll the Leafs in division final as their team commitment to D is exposed again by actual superstar players – McDavid and Draisaitl (not wannabe’s like Marner who still looks and acts like he is 12)

    • Oki Doki… I’m game for the wild predictions….

      As at now predicting season end , Top three teams in league… in ALPHABETICAL order…

      Las Vegas
      Tampa Bay

      Top two in each Div , again in ALPHABETICAL order


      Tampa Bay

      Las Vegas


      • Going MTL eh Pengy.
        I really have no idea with the middle 5 teams in the North. All seem pretty even to me.
        Leafs should be the best, at least are on paper. OTT still rebuilding and young so are in tough.
        The rest is a crap shoot IMO. Methinks it will go down to the wire.

      • Ray and Pengy, just for the North, i’m picking MTL there defense and goaltending is better; they don’t have the star power Toronto has up front, but they play a better defensive game and added some grit. I’m very interested to see how Josh Anderson plays.

      • Hi Ray and Caper

        This was just my oki doki here ‘tis guesses

        So tough to see for sure because of so many changes (personnel and Divs) and haven’t seen any NHL hockey for a while ; and haven’t seen 7 teams for almost 10 months

        That said re Leafs and Habs… taking off my sentimental hope and removing hand from heart… on paper …. I’m with Caper

        No if’s ands or buts:

        Habs goaltending far superior than Leafs
        Leafs top 4 Fwds way better than Habs best 4
        Habs D as a group better than Leafs

        With that add (subjectively ):

        Leafs top two lines better than Habs top 2 lines; BUT, Habs 4 lines OVERALL matches up to and perhaps due to more balanced attacked May (???) be a little better than Leafs

        Head coach of Habs certainly much more seasoned than Leafs

        So…. with that in mind….. on paper…. to me…. Habs stronger than Leafs

        Anything and everything can happen…. if somehow Oil goalies over perform AND JP plays at levels he was drafted for AND McD and LD can maintain their dominance…. they could win CanDiv

        I think Sens in 3 years are going to be very good…. and unless Leafs can get out of 50% of Cap on 4 Fwds… IMHO… Sens have a better chance at a cup in the next 5 years, than Leafs

        Jets I think are not quite there re playoffs ‘21

        ‘Nucks and Flames , to me could finish anywhere between 2nd or 5th…. I just don’t have a stolid read one way or another on them

        As for my other Fav team….. Pens …..need to make a big trade or just may be looking on the outside looking in @ TDL…. much much weaker goaltending duo than last year; much much better D core (just by the subtraction of Uber detrimental JJ) ; but as at now just two scoring lines…. any lengthy injury to Sid or Gino or Guentz or Jarry…. say goodnight 👎😭

  11. A laid back jokester of a ny. I like it. Keep it up!

  12. I have to agree with everything you’ve said Ray…other than the Puljujarvi bit.

  13. Prosciutto, Genoa Salami, Soprasatta, tomatoes, mayo and mustard and some slightly melted motzarella.

  14. If I may, I’d like to piggyback off of the prediction question and ask………
    How many players hit the 30 goal plateau this season?
    My over under is set at 8.

  15. I will play along , kind of , Montreal and Toronto will face off in the playoffs for the first time in 41 years. AM 34 wins the Rocket Richard.
    Washington wins the East division and makes it to the SCF.
    Carolina wins the Central division but gets knocked out by Dallas in the playoffs , Dallas gets dumped by eventual cup winner Colorado.
    Nathan MacKinnon wins lots of hardware this year.

    • There is some quality in there Fergy.
      All looks possible, but I think Philly is the surprise winner of the East.

  16. One issue with the idea of Sid joining Mac attack in Colorado to end his career is the notion that even hall of famers can disrupt the chemistry, or at least underperform, for the team bringing them on. If the Avalanche develop and grow together as a team for so many years then suddenly add Sid, you might see culture disruption as Mac is clearly the team’s heart and soul leader-by-example, but Sid carries so much weight you may have that uncomfortable tension surrounding who should be the lead. Maybe they are good enough friends to avoid that.

    The two examples I can think of from the past are Mark Messier in Vancouver and Jarome Iginla in Pittsburgh.

    The Vancouver situation was far different, but there is no doubt that despite his credentials, Mark Messier did not raise the Canucks up in any way. When Iginla was traded to Pittsburgh, despite being a heart and soul player and one of the grittiest scoring stars I’ve ever seen, Iginla did not fit in with Pittsburgh and that experiment ended almost as soon as it began.

    Just a thought to be cautious, that Sid and Mac playing together would be a great story, but just because they are who they are, does not mean it would be a massive success.

    • A counter-argument to my own would be another Avalanche addition, Ray Bourque.. that worked out pretty well haha.

    • Bourque however was clearly a complementary piece for the Avs at his age and career stage, and unlike Sid, was not there to perform as a still-mega-star. The Bourque addition that year would not be the same as a Sid addition, any year.