NHL Rumor Mill – February 16, 2021

by | Feb 16, 2021 | Rumors | 23 comments

More Evgeni Malkin trade speculation, an update on the Penguins’ efforts to reacquire Marc-Andre Fleury, the Leafs could be eyeing a Predators’ forward and the latest on Victor Mete in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TRIBLIVE.COM: Tim Benz cited Mark Madden last week claiming he heard Evgeni Malkin would not be traded and an extension with the Pittsburgh Penguins may be looming. Madden has since walked it back a bit, citing a source saying Malkin “is not likely to be traded.” He said team co-owner Mario Lemieux doesn’t want to move the veteran center but “that could be up for review,” adding Sidney Crosby was the only true untouchable on the Penguins.

Pittsburgh Penguins center Evgeni Malkin (NHL Images).

Benz wondered if the Florida Panthers could be a trade partner as Malkin’s wife and child reside in Miami full time. That could be his preference if the Penguins decide to trade him but Madden is sure Crosby doesn’t want Malkin to be traded. “If you made me bet right now, I would bet Geno finishes his career as a Penguin.”

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Malkin has a full no-movement clause. If, and that’s still a big “IF” at this point, Penguins GM Ron Hextall and president of hockey ops Brian Burke decide to make that move I suspect they’ll quietly make inquiries with potential trade partners before broaching the subject with Malkin.

They’ll want potential partners lined up that they can take to Malkin and say, “We’re thinking of trading you and here are the teams interested in your services. Choose one.”


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi cited NHL insider Bob McKenzie last week saying Patrik Allvin, in his brief tenure as acting Penguins GM before Ron Hextall took over, made an offer to the Vegas Golden Knights for goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury “a couple of weeks ago”. McKenzie also said Allvin’s predecessor, Jim Rutherford, had an interest in reacquiring Fleury, who played for the Penguins until selected by the Golden Knights in the 2017 expansion draft.

Rossi confirmed Rutherford’s interest last summer in Fleury but cited team and league sources denying any communication about the goalie between Allvin and the Golden Knights. A source close to Fleury said the netminder has “shut the door…for now” on playing for Pittsburgh again.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rossi goes on to say any trade while Allvin was acting GM would’ve had to be approved first by team CEO David Moorehouse. A club source said Allvin hadn’t discussed a Fleury trade with Moorehouse and was neither near making or known to be working on a potential trade. Fleury also never came up during Hextall’s interviews with the Penguins before taking over as GM.

It’s clear Fleury’s focus is on helping the Golden Knights, who have no interest in moving him this season. The “Fleury back to Pittsburgh” speculation could ramp up again in the offseason but Hextall could have other plans in mind for the Penguins’ goaltending.


THE ATHLETIC: James Mirtle wonders how aggressive Leafs GM Kyle Dubas will be with the Apr. 12 trade deadline just under eight weeks away. He cited Hockey Night in Canada’s Elliotte Friedman’s cryptic comment last week almost guaranteeing the Leafs would add a winger at the trade deadline who could play on the top six with Auston Matthews and Mitch Marner or John Tavares and William Nylander.

Friedman didn’t elaborate but the consensus around the league suggests Nashville Predators winger Mikael Granlund fits the description. He could become available if the Predators continue to struggle. The winger signed a one-year, $3.75 million contract with the Predators. Mirtle indicated the Leafs had an interest in him during the offseason but lacked the cap space to sign him.

Other possible rentals who fit the description include the Buffalo Sabres’ Eric Staal and Los Angeles Kings’ Alex Iafallo. Mirtle doubts the Leafs have the assets or cap space to land Sabres winger Taylor Hall.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s no indication yet if Granlund, Staal or Iafallo could be available at the deadline.

Granlund’s a former two-time 60-point winger whose production has suffered in recent years. He’s got decent numbers with the Preds this season (seven points in 12 games) but only one point in his last five contests.

Staal still has a 10-team no-trade list and we don’t know if the Leafs are on it. Iafallo, 27, had a career-high 43 points with the Kings last season and nine in 13 games this season. He could be available if he seeks more on his next contract than the rebuilding Kings are willing to pay.


TSN: Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin once again stated he has no intention of trading Victor Mete. The defenseman’s agent made a public trade request earlier this season after his client was a healthy scratch through the Habs’ first seven games. “We have no intention of moving Victor and I was clear with the agent on that,” he said.


  1. David Moorehouse is a businessman with zero hockey personnel experience and all you have to do is to listen to him for three minutes before you are totally unimpressed … thank God for Hextall & Burke …

    • Thank god for Hextall and only him as Burke will ruin the Penguins as he is not a believer in today’s game and the way it’s played.!!!!
      If Burke leaves Hextall alone and lets him be the GM instead of Burke playing GM as well, the Penguins may have a bright future but keep Burkes hands off of the GM duties as he has done in Calgary and Toronto. He is Hockey operations president but he loves to try and be GM as well, he ruined Calgary as he wouldn’t keep his hands off and when they made Dave Nonis GM in Toronto he had a say in every trade and ruined Toronto.!!! Burke is a 1980’s GM.!!!
      Hextall is no pushover so this will get interesting by the April 12th trade deadline as Hextall and Burke will clash over many things.!!! Hextall may give him a smack in the face.! Good luck Penguins and their fans.!

      • He just might….he was not a fun goalie to play against. Sean Avery wouldn’t have gotten away with some of his BS against Hextall!


      • Well Treliving sure seemed to like working with/for Burke.


        Burke’s not an idiot and not some bull headed lunatic. He and Hextall have discussed each of their vision’s for the Pens and am sure watched plenty of film.
        They each have a clear understanding of each other and expectations and they both accepted the job when they already had one.

        They will get along just fine and there are some decisions to be made if the Pens struggle the rest of the way. I think they will be a bubble team. Just in, or just out.

      • DoubleMinor, I would love to have seen Avery try that crap on Hextall AND Billy Smith. He’d have been looking for his head in the upper decks

  2. After the way Mete played last Saturday, I don’t think he should be moved and I believe he and Romanov could pass Chiarot and Edmundson on the depth chart as early as 2021-22. That said, Bergevin really needs to consider finding a depth centre who is good in the faceoff circle. Their depth in Laval is worrisome.

  3. MAF in trade involving Malkin


  4. I disagree “Frank”. Burke wants sandpaper to compliment the skilled forwards, not figure skaters. Both he and Hextall are competitors and they’ll quickly weed out players who have eggs in their pockets.

    An example of the new millennial rational of analytics and figure skating sees Toronto trade toughness in the minors for a ballerina on ice skates (now to play for his fifth team in four years). He won’t be useful on the top six and he will be useless on the bottom six.

  5. It’s like the scene from lord of the rings.

  6. Madden should stick to wrestling and stop talking hockey… and making up story’s. Maybe Malkin will also skip the exit interviews this year.

    • Hi Chrisms

      Some on here (not I) would like to edit your last line ; by omitting “skip the” and “interviews”

      When McC back from IR, I’d put him up with Gino and drop Zucker down the line-up

      Since the beginning of the year Zucker has either flubbed a pass from , or to, Malkin, no less than 25 times. Malkin has set him up for at least 8 tap ins that he has flubbed

      Malkin has also been post/cross-bar clanging amundo

      Had just 3 of those gone post/cross-bar “in” instead of post/cross-bar “out” ; and Zucker tapped in just 3 of those many “gifts” (that he grossly flubbed) Gino provided him…. then Gino would be 6-7-13… tied for Pens point lead, would be Pens goal leader; would be at a PPG

      Worth a try IMHO; as trading Zucker right now; nigh impossible

      • Pengy the post season interview jest was targeted at madden not Malkin and it relates to faulty reporting he did on the Steelers.

      • Oki Doki

        Missed that


  7. Hi Frank

    Did you visit Aunt Sally on Fam day?


    “ Thank god for Hextall and only him as Burke will ruin ….. “ concur 100%

    “If Burke leaves Hextall alone and lets him be the GM …..bright future “. Concur 100%

    “he loves to try and be GM as well, he ruined Calgary …” concur 100%

    “Burke is a 1980’s GM.!!!…” concur 100%

    “Hextall and Burke will clash over many things.!…” concur 100%

    “Hextall may give him a smack in the face.! “ …. yes please; and concur 100%

    What I’m saying Frank …. is that you hit that post bang on 👍👍👍

    Go Pen Go
    Go Hextall Go

    Burkie… yo shutta yo mouth ; yo keepa da quiet; you leeva da Hexta alona . Capiche

  8. To Lyle or anybody here that knows the CBA in and out….

    Re retention in trades… is this scenario possible:

    Team A is at/near cap but wants to add at TDL… has tons of assets to deal; only wants to add to roster and not let any prominent player go

    Team B is out of playoffs; re-building; can afford to “buy” an asset

    Player X (team A) … UFA … $6 M Cap; was front end loaded ; this year’s pay : $2M SB (already paid) and Sal only $2 M meaning at TDL , after escrow, only still owed ~ $535 K

    X traded to B for a 3rd; no retention

    Next day X traded back to team A, with 50% retained….. the return is their own 3rd (from day before) and a second

    Team B “bought” a 2nd for less than $270 K;

    Team A :
    —freed up $3M in Cap space (room for an additional player) ;
    —saved $270 K in cash;
    —did not change roster;
    —Can add a player whose annual Cap hit is $3M or less ($6M or less if that trade partner retains 50%)

    All … for the price of a 2nd

    Is that trade kosher under the CBA

    • No. From 50.5.e.iii.C.4 of the collective bargaining agreement:

      Reacquire as part of a Retained Salary Transaction the SPC of a Player who was on that Club’s Reserve List within the past calendar year;

      Illustration: If Club A Trades the SPC of a Player to Club B (the “Initial Trade”), Club B cannot subsequently Trade an SPC of such Player back to Club A within one (1) calendar year from the date of the Initial Trade and retain a portion of the Averaged Amount of that SPC pursuant to a Retained Salary Transaction. However, Club B may Trade an SPC of the Player back to Club A within one (1) calendar year from the date of the Initial Trade if Club B does not retain any portion of such Player’s SPC.

      • Hi Lyle

        Many thanks

        Sorry for the confusion

        I knew that part as that has an original retention (“ pursuant to a Retained Salary Transaction”)

        The first trade A to B …. no retention… so re-acquisition by A , of X , doesn’t contravene that

        Next day, same player (with retention from B) goes back to A

        With that in mind “B” can’t get X back for a year plus a day; but A , seeing as they didn’t retain anything; could

        I was getting at the “circumvention” by effectively “buying” cap space in a one day turnaround

        A few weeks ago TSN was chatting about re-acquiring players they ( a team) had traded off season ; but re-acquiring at a lesser Cap hit (retention on trade-back by the team that they traded to off season)… so it is legal with months (but less than a year apart) between

        The first days trade is completely kosher

        The flip back (as A didn’t originally retain) doesn’t contravene the retention /1 year rule

        I was trying to find out what CBA rules allow the NHL to nix a trade… if they can in this case; due to “hanky-panky” (did I just become my mother?)

        Per TSN , it can be done with months separating the trade… one of the examples they used was Statsny (if Jets were way out and Vegas had enough space and more importantly, desire, to get him back at a reduced Cap hit). I forget the other examples. Statsny was traded in October… so less than a year.

        I was trying to see if it could be done with a day separating the trade; not months; and with the obvious move to “buy” space

        Thanks in advance

  9. Anybody hear from Wendel 17 today?

    I wonder why not?

    • Was thinking the same thing nevinsrip. There was a post from a Wendy on here last week, that I thought might have been him. But wasn’t sure and didn’t ask just in case the person was actually Wendy.

      I understand things got a little nasty on here one day, didn’t see it all and I think a bunch got deleted. Might have something to do with it.

      I always thought he was pretty funny, in an annoying Leaf fan/running gag kind of way.

      • Ray Bark, Me too. I don’t mind a little good natured banter between fans of different teams.

        I must have missed the blow up.

        Anyway I hope he returns, as he adds to the fun. I don’t think that he takes himself seriously. I know that I don’t.

    • He’s drowning in “my” sorrows

      • Ha

  10. As Bruin fan I would not want Malkin over priced and looks unmotivated.