NHL Rumor Mill – January 7, 2021

by | Jan 7, 2021 | Rumors | 29 comments

Recent speculation on the Penguins, Avalanche and Rangers in today’s NHL rumor mill.

THE ATHLETIC: Josh Yohe recently reported Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford believes spending money in free agency will be pivotal to keeping his club competitive two years from now.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Yohe believes the summer of 2022 could be crucial for the Penguins, as Evgeni Malkin and Kris Letang will become eligible for unrestricted free agency. Malkin will be 36 by then, Letang 35. Rutherford feels it will be key to plug in one or two impact players in their mid-20s into the roster.

For now, Rutherford isn’t expected to make any immediate deals. He wants to evaluate the current roster to see what they have to offer.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’ll be interesting to see if the Penguins move on from aging core players like Malkin and Letang next year or retain them on more affordable, short-term contracts. If Rutherford’s intent is to make a big splash or two in the 2022 free-agent market for younger impact players, there might not be enough cap space to retain those veteran stars.

COLORADO HOCKEY NOW: Adrian Dater recently reported Bowen Byram’s solid performance for Canada during the 2021 World Junior Championship have the Colorado Avalanche considering a trade to free up a roster spot for the young defenseman.

Dater doubts this move would happen before February. Nevertheless, he considers Ian Cole a likely trade candidate. The veteran blueliner is eligible for UFA status this summer with a salary cap hit of $4.25 million for this season.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Byram has considerable potential and could crack the Avs’ lineup soon. However, there’s no need to rush him. They can take their time and see how things unfold.

Cole lacks no-trade protection but moving him won’t be easy. It could involve packaging him with a sweetener to a team with sufficient cap space to take on his contract.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers have checked in with free agent Brian Boyle. They need help in the faceoff circle plus there are questions about a vacuum of veteran leadership as well as the makeup and role of the fourth line.

Brooks feels the former Ranger could address those issues but the club informed Boyle they’re taking a wait-and-see approach with their young players. Meanwhile, several other clubs have also reached out to the veteran center.


  1. Re Jimbo and

    “ For now, Rutherford isn’t expected to make any immediate deals. He wants to evaluate the current roster to see what they have to offer.”

    He better get on his horse soon…. this Roster is in a very precarious position

    Weaker goaltending duo than last year

    Only two scoring lines

    Yes D grouping better (basically due to the jettisoning of the hugely detrimental JJ)

    … and last year Pens missed playoffs; and now have Bruins in their Div

    Hello McFly (Jimbo)

    Pens should have signed Duclair 😡🤬😭

    • Peng,

      I’m ALWAYS here for you, my brother.

      Although I’m unable to fulfill your “Duclair dream”, I can and will provide de la Rose AND MacEachern to fill the void—a 6th round pick will suffice.

      Quantity!! Quality??


      ps. Much to the demise of Jeff, I can also still offer Bozak to meet your 3C need.

      • Hi Iowa Prince

        de La Rose for Chad Ruhweedel and we have ourselves a deal

        I like Boz… but unfortunately that won’t help the situation

        Boz in for McC at 3C doesn’t move the needle; and Pens don’t have the space for Boz… even if 50% is retained. Even Boz @ 50% retained for Ruhweedel and Pens still then over Cap

        To get under Cap for Pens, it would have to be Boz at 50% for Sceviour …. leaving Pens with only 18 K in space

        Had Jimbo got Duclair….

        McC Duclair Poulin on third line would have been very fast and waaaaaay more productive than the 3rd line that will be currently starting the season

      • T HE blozahhhhhhx

    • Hi NY4Life

      I am not totally familiar with Matheson work. I’ve maybe seen 30 or so games he has played.

      Saw all last year with Ceci

      Saw all of the horror of 2 years of JJ

      I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on JJ… just opinions on both side… no worries

      That won’t change… again no worries… just opinions and I respect that you see him differently than I do

      I can tell you that in all the years I played; all the years I coached ; all the games I’ve watched (ever) at all levels of hockey (minor through pro and international)…. that’s definitely well well over 10,000 games over 5 plus decades; I’ve never seen any player so absolutely detrimental to all other teammates and the success of the team ; as JJ

      3 of the last Pens playoff/play-in losses are all on JJ. All Pens who played more than 5 games with JJ in last two years; had far superior stats when he was sitting vs him on the ice with them

      IMHO, It is virtually impossible for Matheson to be even 1/2 as bad as JJ

      You and I won’t see eye to eye on this. That’s perfectly fine. As I said, It’s all opinion.

      I am just pleased as punch that JJ is not playing for Pens

      Does his exodus guarantee Pens a playoff spot…. nope…. Pens have a far weaker goaltending tandem than last year and only two scoring lines

      Any pro-longed injury to Jarry or Sid or Gino or Guentzel …. 🤬😡😭

    • Hi NY4Life

      With you re burying JJ , or better still , they should have bought him out after 18/19 and the debacle of the Isle’s series

      Fingers crossed on Matheson

      The move to get younger (moving Horny) had to bring back a contract that was tough on Panthers and Matheson was it

      As I said , impossible that he’s even close to a 1/4 as bad as JJ; so team D improves tremendously just with assurance that JJ is not there; morale should also improve tremendously

      Fingers crossed

      Still say he (Jimbo) must make a move to shore up scoring on 3rd line

      After top 6 , there is McC (who can play top 6 wing)p BTW) ….then after him… 7 mediocre 4th liners that are not known for putting the puck in the oppositions net

      That is not a formula for success

    • Rutherford…good god! He di finally get rid of J.j. but has ben asleep all off season.

      What’s to evaluate this roster is top heavy and is weak in third and fourth line depth and scoring…simple. And a fringe playoff team…

      He needs to make something happen now and avoid a sluggish tart to a shortened season..

    • I’m looking forward to Madison Square garden faithful at some point boo J.J off the ice…he is yours now..

      I think Tod Reirden will make C. C, better and Matheson as well.

      Matheson has all the physical gifts just needs good coaching

  2. From what I could see from the WJ is that Byram is ready now. A nice dilemma. Him and Makar will be a pair for a decade.
    Avs excellent at drafting let’s see what Burnaby Joe can do on the trade front to make room

    I would let Letang walk or trade at his last TD.

    • On to the Elephant in my room, my long time opinions of Bowen Byram.
      I have a very strong feeling that after the Canada camp and initial dress rehearsal WJ rounds that the Canada staff took him aside and asked how committed he could be to winning, and would he be willing to harness his strong inclinations to go rover, for the team’s sake?
      I never doubted Byram’s size, skill, feet, or his ability to close tight gaps and, most of all, loved that he basically could move up like a centre and walk the entire attack zone, size up his options, and then decide whether they WERE the best options or him just holding the biscuit to try and take the shot.
      Sure every NHL game has instances where we see defenders take this route and their teams make sure they cover that point and all is usually well.
      But Byram just seemed so inclined to abandon his positioning in junior, it was beyond a Cole Makar jump up, it was reckless and there were continual bad reads that hurt his team. He didn’t fare better while in Colorado camp again, seeming to be lacking the hockey IQ and sense that can kill a career and/or NHL dee-man’s ice time. I thought that was why he was sent packing last preseason.
      I heard the World Junior telecast team saying, “…wait until he teamed with Makar!”
      I just figured that it would have to take a lot of need for his offensive game to warrant him sticking with this Cup challenging Colorado team, that the river boat aspect and the necessary growth of how he reads his end of the ice was gonna have to start showing the Avs staff that he should be there now.
      I never doubted his offensive abilities.
      But what we have begun to see on Team Canada is he is staying home more and just taking what’s given, and not trying to take the scoring on his shoulders with abandonment of his position.
      If this continues, Colorado might reach his expectations all around.

      • Wow, that is a detailed report Bill. Thanks for that.
        COL doesn’t have a full time spot on LD available since they brought in Toews, so no rush with Byram. Maybe something to do with the points you’re making.

        I see you have the Oil Kings Guenther listed in the top 5 on your site. Saw him a couple times last season, scored in both. Was still 16 and played with as much poise as anybody on the ice with the puck.
        One of the best 16 yr old’s I have seen live in these parts, and I’m pretty old.

      • Hey Bill if he Bryan pushes so much for offence while on the ice pairing him with another offensive Dman will fail. Perhaps Colorado will set them up on separate lines. Have hem quarter back separate PPs

  3. Pens defence has never been the same since Sullivan forced Cole out of town … and don’t get me started on Kris LeTurnover … and signing Duclair would have been disastrous, Pens have plenty of forwards who don’t play defence as it is … and have an abundance of streaky scorers as well. Pens aren’t going anywhere this season but as I’ve said before no complaints. We’ve had our share of rings and parades.

    • @ed vanimpe…Hearing Ian Cole is now available because Colorado is enamored with Byram and wants him on the roster..

      Rutherford you hear that…

  4. Another astute draft by Dubas picking a skilled Finn D in the 3rd rd that outshone all the 1st rounders and was D of the WJC tourny.

    It is almost unfair to the rest of the league.

    • Clearly a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

    • Wendy71, interested in your opinion who will be a distant second to the Leafs in the Canadian division?

      • CGY Raging then VAN. The rest all have fatal flaws in their rosters:

        WIN: Defense 4th
        EDM: Goal 5th
        MTL: Talent 6th
        OTT: Time 7th

      • Let’s all watch Toeonto flounder and come in 4th.


  5. Cole won’t be hard to move at the deadline to a team needing d depth. Won’t take a sweetener. Might take retaining salary.

    • Agreed. I wouldn’t be shocked if they could find a taker now if they retained 50%.

  6. Saw Clarkson posting on Twitter that Crawford is away from camp (4 days now) and considering retirement. Anyone else hearing anything?

  7. Is it my imagination or is this site getting funnier?

    • Hi Hud

      Chrisms ….. your up

      • 😴

  8. Burn me but i need to have fun today….

    Columbus trades PLD for? and sends Barzal an offer sheet.

  9. Bergeron Captain…. good choice

    Vats back in NJ…. $2M…. really surprised no one else picked him up

    • Yup, Bergy as Captain was the easiest choice the Bruins made all off season.

  10. Projection on standings are pie in the sky for now as we haven’t seen any of the teams yet.

    No time to develop systems, get into top shape, integrate new players.

    The short season makes it more playoff like so the only projection I will make is that softer teams without depth will get beaten down by the end of the season.