NHL Rumor Mill – February 13, 2021

by | Feb 13, 2021 | Rumors | 45 comments

Five players who could use a change of scenery, more Victor Mete trade speculation and some suggested changes for the Predators in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin believes the Calgary Flames’ Sam Bennett, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Travis Dermott, the St. Louis Blues’ Vince Dunn, the Detroit Red Wings’ Anthony Mantha and the Vancouver Canucks’ Jake Virtanen need fresh starts on new teams.

St. Louis Blues defenseman Vince Dunn is among several players who could use a change of scenery (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Larkin but there are various reasons why these players might not be moved this season, if at all.

The Flames are reportedly reluctant to move Bennett because of his value as a proven playoff performer. Larkin also noted if they move him they’ll have to protect someone else in this summer’s expansion draft.

Dermott’s having trouble earning a full-time spot this season on Toronto’s blueline. Larkin points out he’s in nearly every Leafs rumor and would be perfect trade bait to add another forward. The Athletic’s Jonas Siegel suggested a Dermott-for-Sam Bennett swap if they can make the dollars work.

Dunn is probably the most likely on this list to get traded. Larkin feels it’s only a matter of time until he’s moved. The Blues reportedly seek a first- or second-round pick in return. There are several clubs that could use him but finding the right fit is the sticking point. The Blues at this point don’t seem in a hurry to trade him.

Mantha’s a big, fast forward with good offensive skills but his inconsistency and injury history hurt his trade value. So does his $5.7 million annual average value.

Virtanen has come up a lot of late in trade rumors but reports out of Vancouver suggest there’s not much of a market for him. He’s brought that on himself with his poor play. Maybe he’ll finally reach his full potential on a different team but there doesn’t appear to be a general manager out there willing to take a chance on him.


SPORTSNET: Mike Johnston lists the Red Wings, Flames, Pittsburgh Penguins, Anaheim Ducks, Arizona Coyotes and Buffalo Sabres as clubs that could show interest in Victor Mete. The agent for the Montreal Canadiens defenseman recently went public with a trade request for his client, angering Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin.

Mete’s been a frequent healthy scratch as he’s become the odd man out on the Canadiens’ blueline. However, they haven’t sent him to their taxi squad because another club could scoop him up off waivers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Like the Flames with Bennett, the Canadiens aren’t rushing to ship out Mete. They’d prefer hanging onto him as insurance in case injuries strike their defense corps.

Steven Ellis of SI.com/The Hockey News believes Mete would be a good value pickup for teams seeking blueline depth. Those clubs listed by Johnston could be potential destinations for the 22-year-old rearguard whenever Bergevin decides to honor his trade request. However, that move probably won’t happen until the offseason unless one of those clubs makes an irresistible pitch before the Apr. 12 trade deadline.


THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Adam Vingan was asked what the struggling Nashville Predators should do to avoid sliding into years of becoming a bad team with bloated contracts.

Vingan believes the Predators should become sellers by the April trade deadline if they’re still out of the playoff running by then. He advocates moving players on one-year contracts (Erik Haula, Mikael Granlund, Brad Richardson) for draft picks. They should also consider moving defenseman Mattias Ekholm, who has one year remaining on his cap-friendly contract.

The next step is trying to unload Matt Duchene or Ryan Johansen in this summer’s Seattle expansion draft. He suggested using some of the draft capital acquired at the trade deadline and/or throw in a player to sweeten the deal.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan acknowledged all of this is easier said than done. Nevertheless, I agree with his take. The Predators have been trending downward since winning the President’s Trophy in 2017-18. They’re near the bottom of the Central Division and the overall standings. It’s time for GM David Poile to acknowledge the obvious that his roster needs at least a significant retooling.


  1. Gee, Johansen and Duchene both wanted out of Columbus to chase a Cup. We don’t miss them.

  2. I agree with this list but I can say I would also add evgeni Malkin from the Penguins. Watching him play, he just doesn’t have the fire he used to play with, almost looks bored at times. He has almost always played his best hockey during times that Crosby was sidelined for various reasons.

    • Agree Eric that Eugene started out rough

      He’s coming around

      It doesn’t help that he’s had Zucker on his wing … Zucker is a complete shell of what he was last year. I thought he was playing injured …. giving and receiving passes way off

      There has been at least 5 opportunities that Malkin passed to Zucker for an open net tap in that Zucker missed.

      He’s starting to fell with Kappy (remember no training camp, and missed first 3 games of the season)

      Malkin has also hit 7 posts/crossbars in the first 12 games

      5 Zucker misses, 7 posts/Crossbars…. if just 1/2 of those went in… Malkin would be first on team with 12 points

      I’m expecting (read hoping) an upswing by end of Feb


    • Eric…so well said all the talent just no drive and dumber than a light post…..he has had a couple goals lately so who knows…

      Unless he accepts a trade, and management will allow it, we have to ride him out until after next year…

    • Article in Pittsburgh Tribune says penguins are considering extending Malkin…huge mistake especially at $9.5 million..

      Let him play out his contract next year..only resign him for a team friendly deal ike $4 million or let him walk.

  3. Duchene most over rated hockey player . Everywhere he goes teams crumble to nothing .Maybe a little harsh but big contract no results ever with winning

    • If Roy didn’t like him, I don’t like him.

    • Duchene..Turris…. RyanJo

      no thanks

    • Swany, that’s my opinion of evander kane too. He can bring down ANY team, no matter how many super stars are on the roster including the Sharks! When they reported his bankruptcy, I didn’t know if they were talking about bankruptcy ON the ice of OFF – probably BOTH. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy!

    • duchene worst Avalanche ever, too. I said so when everyone was tooting his horn back then. He is the worst teammate as well!!

  4. Why all the talk about Sam Bennett?
    Would he be coveted if he wasn’t a 4th overall pick?

    He’s shown over 375 games that he’s a 3rd line player that was picked too high in the draft. If he was picked in the second or third round nobody would mention his name. Calgary passed on much better players including William Nylander who just happened to be born in Calgary.

    • Hi Daryl

      Fully agree that the elevated talk re Bennet is absolutely a product of where he was drafted

      That said… he has talent but is not performing at a level that his skill set should produce

      He is the epitome of a player example that just may benefit substantially from a change of scenery

      Add that to his speed, ability to play centre, only $2.5 M in Cap and still RFA after this year…. all this boosts interest… and therefore media attention

      Is he playing like a 4th overall pick…. nope, not close

      But set that aside…. $2.5 M, RFA, speedy , can (and does/has) played C, only 24, 6’1” , 200; high odds of improving play with a new team…. and many teams that are looking for that combo of resume and have space… willing to take risk

      Would I like him on either of my two fav teams (Leafs and Pens)… for the right trade ask…. you bet your sweet bippy

      What’s the ask?

      • Hi Pengy

        My thoughts regarding Bennett in TO are…where would he play? He wouldn’t supplant Matthews or Tavares at C and Kerfoot has shown to be a better player. Bennett has also balked at being a checking C with the Flames if I’m not mistaken.

        Could you compare Bennett to Vesey? He has similar tools but no consistency. He’s signed for under $1M. Bennett is also a career minus player.

        The Leafs cannot afford his cap hit and also cannot afford to trade for a player with “potential” that’s shown over a large sample size what he is.

        Engvall and Vesey for Bennett + 2021 3rd Round pick? That’s almost a dollar for dollar trade.

      • Daryl

        That proposal seems to me very fair for both teams… Cgy has a spare 3rd, Leafs lack a 3rd👍👍. Vesey UFA , so off books next year

        Excellent work

        And what is the ask from Pens ? Don’t forget… Pens will (begrudge — LOL) sweeten the pot with Ruhweedel …. tee hee😄🤩

        Honestly… what is ur suggestion on trade re Bennett to Pens

      • Since 2000 there have been a few misses at 4. It’s not just Sam. Griffin Reinhardt and Thomas Hickey to start. In saying that he is a solid third line player who can play up and down the lineup. Give the kid a new chance

    • Daryl, do you ever watch Bennett? He has been stapled to poor players like Brouwer, Bouma, Jankowski etc. So it is hard to succeed dragging guys like that around. He is much more physical than any of the Leaf players you mentioned and can fight to boot. He is consistently the Flames best player in the playoffs and has looked decent when he can play centre with good players. I know it is tough to stay up to watch western teams but maybee you will see him more with the North division.

      • To just add to thoughts on Bennett. They have recently tried him on right wing with Gaudreau and Monahan but he looks awkward playing his off-side. To play centre he is behind Monahan, Lindholm, and Backlund. To play LW he is behind Gaudreau, Tkachuk and Mangiapane. Consequently he is either stuck on his off side or on the 4th line.

      • Honestly, I can’t say I’ve seen him play. To me the argument that he needs to play with good players isn’t a fair assessment.

        If Bennett wants to play with better players then show management that he earned it.

        If Bennett showed the same effort and production during the regular season that he shows in the playoffs the Flames would have no choice to move him up.


        I’m not too familiar with the Pens but Bennett might have the same problem cracking that line-up…hard to displace Crosby and Malkin at C but it might be interesting to see Bennett play LW with Sid? Doesn’t seem that PIT has the picks or prospects CGY would be looking for?

  5. I doubt Detroit would have any interest in Mete, but perhaps the Grand Rapids Griffins might.

  6. Re “Mantha’s a big, fast forward with good offensive skills but his inconsistency and injury history hurt his trade value. So does his $5.7 million annual average value.” …

    Zucker may have missed 3 games in the last 5 years…. slightly lower cap hit

    Pens will absolutely take Mantha for Zucker…. A B S O L U T E L Y

    Need more in the trade… what’s it take?

  7. Mantha is puzzling , some nights he is very noticeable other nights invisible. A change of locale may bring out more effort & consistency. A couple of years ago he would have been deemed ‘untouchable’ .

    • Hi Fergy

      See above

      What do Pens need to add to Zucker to get Mantha?

      They don’t have picks; so it’s prospects or a roster player

      • Poulin + another piece might get it done Pengy

      • Hi Fergy 22

        I guess that’s the price (Poulin) for moving Zucker…. very painful in that GMJR already gave up a 1st and Addison for him

        In essence that’s 2 1sts (including Poulin) plus a 2nd (Addison) and something else for Mantha

        I’m sure that would be a huge no go for Hextall

        Zucker costly to get and costly to get rid of 🤬😡

        I’m thinking Hextall would not go beyond…

        Zucker and Maniscalco (good D prospect) and he’d probably insist that Stevie Y take on Ruhweedel in the deal

        Middle ground on deal is likely

        Zucker, Maniscalco, Laffy


        Mantha and Gagner

      • I don’t think there is any interest in Zucker in Detroit.

      • Hi Iago

        I have very strong confidence that you are bang on re Zucker

        Stevie Y waaaay smarter than Jimbo

        Jimbo thought smoke flew out of Zucker’s butt… declared his bromance well in advance of trade; driving asking price up; and still paid even more than that inflated artificial “worth”

        If he (GMJR) really wanted to help Pens and had to deal with Wild….it should have been for Soucy


  8. George and other Sens fans

    Help me out in understanding Dorion’s trade today

    All three players are upcoming UFAs

    All three are underperforming

    All 3 camps play C AND LW; 2 can play RW (so all 3 forward positions) as well

    Dorion gave up 2 (two) 27 year olds for a 28 year old; AND the trade costs more in Sal (and Cap but Cap is irrelevant)

    Dorion traded two players at or above league average size for one below league average size

    So…. cost increased, roster diminished, team got older and smaller

    This trade is confusing to me

    Carolina saved money, got younger and bigger, saved Cap, added roster depth

    Again… all 3 are UFAs

    Shouldn’t Canes have at least added a 3rd or 4th or better still a B prospect , so that over contract rosters don’t change for either team?

    • “ over contract ”


      “Overall contract”

    • Pengy , dumping 2 players to add hopefully means some kids from Belleville on ELCs coming up. Brown, Formenton need to get another taste.

      • Thanks Fergy

        I Certainly buy the strategy having the younger players play but there should’ve been another way in which they could’ve done this …..paying more money and the two for one deal that they lost…. I just don’t get that move

        Dorion needed to get more in the trade

        Wadell certainly won that trade

        Dorion is still stinging from the complete hosing in the Stepan deal

      • Plus, at least we know from his history here that Dzingel (Bells) know where the net is, something beyond Galchenyuk & Paquette.

        As Fergy says, it at least opens the door for another of the kids to slot in. Meanwhile, I seriously doubt any of the 3 involved with the trade will be extended by their new teams next year.

        As for Stepan, the “hosing” will only become apparent IF that 2nd round pick turns out to be anything substantial – 2, 3, 4 years from now – and it isn’t Ottawa’s own 2nd rounder – it was one previously owned by Columbus which figures to be a lot lower down the list.

    • This one has me scratching my head, too, Pengy, from the Ottawa side.

      This is a team seemingly going nowhere this season, who now has decided to pay ~$1.3M* more for that privilege.

      *($675K from the trade, +a minimum salary guy to take one player’s place)

      [good deal for Waddell: worst case you save cap $. Dzingel was often a healthy scratch so there isn’t any risk]

      • Hi WC

        Fully agree Wadell won the trade and by far

    • PENGY..We are not giving up Joshua Maniscalco..

      We have a good defensive prospect pool..Joshua Maniscalco, Cam Lee, WIlliam Rielly pl us Pierre oliver Joseph already contributing.

      Our forward pool is weak only poulin and O’Connor are solid.

      Nashville is struggling mightily..
      They like Anaheim are willing to move guys

      ..dont you think Mattias Ekholm Nashville

      Or Josh Manson would look good on our defense..?

      Burke on sportsnet tonight hockey night in Canada was saying good bye.

      Was asked a
      About the Penguins..he said we are trying to win this year..we will do what’s possible but this off season we will have to make tough decisions..we will do that at that time.

      Which means malkin & Letang are safe for now uuugghh

  9. Hi guys, first, Pengy, saw your response on yesterday’s thread, I know it is mostly you with the Ruhwedel stuff, just poking fun 🙂 I wish the Flames could unload a guy like Lucic for something much better too!

    The debate around Bennett seems to be that, on the one hand, he was a 4th overall pick and has not been able to take a role outside of the bottom six, so what is the big deal about Bennett, why would he be so coveted?

    It is because of untapped potential, combined with an obvious uptick in his play during the playoffs. This is why I scratched my head at the suggestion yesterday of Bennett for Victor Rask…. Rask has shown absolutely nothing to me, Bennett has shown he can elevate his game.

    There is so much more potential to be reached by Bennett than there is by someone like Rask.

    Look back to the Dylan Strome/Nick Schmaltz trade: Strome had failed to make a push in Arizona, though admittedly his 6 points in 20 games before being traded to Chicago looks a tiny bit better on paper than Bennett’s totals this season. Schmaltz had already been developing into a decent prospective 2nd line center, with 52 points in 2017-18 and 11 points in 23 games to start 2018-19 before the trade.

    All I’m trying to say is, with his playoff performances and his yet untapped potential, it should take, maybe not a player like Nick Schmaltz, but certainly more than a Victor Rask, to pry Bennett from Calgary.

    • And to someone else’s point, it is true, beyond a few odd chances to play with Gaudreau and Monahan, Bennett has not exactly had the sort of linemates or ice time to make an offensive impact.

      Like Dylan Strome in Chicago playing with wingers like Kane and/or DeBrincat, if Bennett is traded somewhere he can either center a line with two skilled scoring wingers, or play wing with such talent as Tavares, with Nylander on the other wing, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bennett’s offensive numbers start to pick up over some adjustment time.

      It was a shame reading the ice time of the Flames players a few days ago, Bennett had been up on the top line with Johnny and Monny, one game or two games… then I read the ice time numbers for the game after and Bennett had around 11 minutes to Johnny and Monny’s 17-19 minutes….. so obviously he is still not being given a long enough chance to gel with the scoring lines.

      Time to trade him, yes, to a place where he can actually be given a leash of more than a few games. Just not for Rask 😉

    • Many a GM has made a mistake trading for “untapped potential”

      Look at Bennett’s OHL stats…one good year…91 points. He wasn’t lighting it up every year.

      He’s a 3rd line player making too much for his 30 points a season picked too high in his draft year.

      • On the flip side Daryl, you can look at a guy like Roslovic. Complained about his role. Similar to Bennett, asked to check and not give up goals as his priority, and having wingers with less offensive skill than he thinks he has.
        Roslovic gets a chance and so far is lighting it up in CLB. We’ll see if it continues, but who you play with matters for skill guys. Others not so much.
        With Bennett it isn’t about attitude and not willing to go to the hard places to score, we see it in the playoffs. Cgy pays him what they do because of that. A guy worth taking a chance on IMO.

      • He was 17 when he put up 91 points and had 40 as a 16 year old.

      • By every year, you must mean only the two full seasons he played in the OHL … rookie year, 40 points in 60 games, sophomore year 91 points in 57 games, then third year, only played in 11 games in the OHL but was on pace for roughly 2 points per game. If you want to use that as a criticism, you need to do some more work 🙂

      • Daryl, I can’t see how you don’t believe ice time and better linemates don’t lead to more production. Players that get opportunity on the pp and play 7 to 10 more minutes obviously have a greater chance to produce. As a Flames fan I hope we keep Sam. His best games have been when he has been able to replace an injured Centre or LW when they are injured. I certainly would prefer him to any of the Leafs you mentioned.

    • Hi Augustus

      I just didn’t want anybody else to take the blame on my repetitive “trade Ruhweedel” rant

      All on me

      I know Chrisms (Pens fan) is definitely not supportive of my Ruhweedel stance

      I do know that unless Hextall does something…. Pens have a higher chance of missing playoffs than they have of winning Cup, or even getting to semi-finals

      Fingers crossed on injury recovery soon paired with resurgence

      The revamped sched with so many games in a small time-frame (March); scares me

  10. Sparky…is opportunity earned or given?

    Bennett has played 375 games in the NHL. producing at 0.35 points per game. To illustrate my point a former 1st overall pick had 0.38 PPG over a similar amount of games (350) and is not in the NHL any longer. Now…tell me what you think Bennett is worth in a trade?

    Plenty of guys light up the OHL and end up as busts when it comes to playing pro.

    CGY made a bad pick at 4th overall with Bennett. There were much better players picked after him.

    • You should really watch the players you are critical of.

      • Best example of a Flame that wasn’t given ice-time or much opportunity that blossomed elsewhere is Martin St. Louis. Thought he was a bust in Calgary, history shows when given a chance he was a superstar