NHL Rumor Mill – February 19, 2021

by | Feb 19, 2021 | Rumors | 82 comments

The Jack Eichel trade speculation flares back to life as the Sabres continue to struggle, plus the latest on Taylor Hall, Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Binnington in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman yesterday giving WGR 550 a quick “yes” when asked whether he sees the possibility of the Buffalo Sabres trading Jack Eichel. Friedman pointed to the Sabres’ performance coming out of their COVID-19 protocol break “has started a lot of talk about what could be happening.”

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (NHL Images)

While the Sabres’ recent play isn’t enough to spur a franchise-changing move, Vogl took note of the fact Eichel hates losing and there’s been little change in the club’s fortunes despite recent changes. The Sabres captain is also off to a slow start after suffering an upper-body injury during training camp.

The Sabres’ ongoing woes have given rise to speculation over Eichel’s future in Buffalo. He’s in the third year of an eight-year deal with the final four years containing a full no-movement clause. Moving him before that clause kicks in 17 months from now would give the Sabres a broader trade market.

Vogl speculates the New York Rangers and Los Angeles Kings could be best-positioned to make a competitive pitch for Eichel. Both have considerable depth in promising youth and the cap space to take on Eichel’s $10 million annual average value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Eichel trade conjecture first surfaced last year when he voiced his unhappiness over the club’s performance. Few observers seriously entertained the notion of the Sabres star getting traded then. However, Vogl and Friedman pointed out the longer the club continues to stumble the more questions will be asked about Eichel’s future.

Another failed season could force a discussion this summer between Eichel and the Sabres’ ownership and management over the team’s direction. I don’t see them trying to move him if he wants to stay. He’s the guy they’ve been trying to build around since drafting him in 2015. But if Eichel decides it’s time to move on, trading him before his NMC kicks in makes the most sense.

Every NHL club would love to have a player like Eichel in their lineup. As I noted last September, finding a suitable trade partner willing to take on his big contract and pony up what will be an expensive asking price won’t be easy. Just because the Rangers and Kings have the cap space and assets to make a competitive offer doesn’t mean they’ll do it.

TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports there’s mutual interest between Taylor Hall and Sabres management in discussing a contract extension when the time is right. Both sides can start those discussions on March 12, one month before the Apr. 12 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s widely assumed Hall could be moved before the trade deadline if the Sabres fail to re-sign him by then. That’s still a possibility. If they can re-sign him, however, it could help alleviate some of the potential concerns Eichel might have about the club’s plans going forward.


TSN: Frank Seravalli reports teams have a lot of interest in Anaheim Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf. The 35-year-old center is slated to become a UFA this summer. Seravalli indicates the Ducks have no plans to ask Getzlaf about a trade unless he asks to be moved to a contender before the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Getzlaf is among the greatest players in Ducks history. They’re not going to force him out the door if he’s non-committal about returning next season or doesn’t fit into their future plans. They’ll give him all the time he needs to make a decision.

Ryan Rishaug took to Twitter on Tuesday reporting no resumption of contract talks between the Edmonton Oilers and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The 27-year-old forward is due to become a UFA this summer. He wants to stay and the club wants to re-sign him but working out term and dollars on a new deal during a flat-cap COVID environment has proven tricky.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Rishaug points out Nugent-Hopkins isn’t an asset the Oilers want to risk losing for nothing to free agency this summer. It’ll be interesting to see if talks resume before the Apr. 12 trade deadline. I don’t expect them to move Nugent-Hopkins while they’re in the midst of the playoff race but perhaps that changes if they tumble in the standings.

THE ATHLETIC: Jeremy Rutherford reports St. Louis Blues GM Doug Armstrong said his goal is to sign Jordan Binnington to a new contract. The 27-year-old goaltender is due to become a UFA this summer and is off to a strong start to this season.

Armstrong cited Binnington’s accomplishments in the short time he’s been with the Blues. He also pointed out the club would have to find a replacement for him if he departs via free agency.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Blues don’t have anyone in their system who can step up and fill Binnington’s skates. There aren’t many suitable options to replace him via this summer’s UFA market.

Tuukka Rask could be available but it’s expected he’ll re-sign with the Boston Bruins. Toronto Maple Leafs netminder Frederik Andersen has a solid regular-season record but hasn’t accomplished much in the playoffs. Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators and Devan Dubnyk of the San Jose Sharks are past their prime.


  1. Maybe if Eichel, Hall & Skinner started putting the puck in the net like they are paid to do the Sabres wouldn’t be so bad …

    Getzlaf was a warrior, time to hang ’em up …

    • ED i know this will come across strange to most but I would take Getzlaf in NY for Strome & ADA.

      He certainly would take a pay cut next year to resign and NY is a contender, though not playing like one now.

      Put him with Kreider & Kakko
      Move Bread with Panarin and Buch

      Dollars work out and ANA get younger .

      If Getzlaf does not resign to a contract NY like Rangers clear cap out anyway. Giving tons of flexibility in the off season along with Smith & jack johnson contracts up too.

      • No way Anaheim does that. It will cost you to get rid of ADA and even at this stage Strome is not worth Getzlaf. Sorry you’ll need solid prospects or picks with 1 of those salary dumps to make the dollars work for Anaheim to pick up the phone. Anaheim will not just take scraps.

    • Eichel, Hall and Skinner – 27 million in salaries and a combined total of 3 goals.

      Not much of a return on the Sabres investment.

      • I say … Do a blockbuster in Toronto ..
        Tavares and Nylander are asleep
        Eichel, and Hall are under performing …
        Cap situation would be a wash , as both sides have 18 million dollars invested in their 2 players …
        Only problem is Hall is not signed after this year, with Calgary -his home stomping grounds, in pursuit ..
        Sign and trade deal , Toronto adds a sweetener …

      • to ANA : Skinner ($1m retained) & Mittelstadt

        to BUF : Silfverberg & Rackell

        I think Skinner would waive his NMC to go to a sunnier climate.

    • Crazy thing, is over the past 2 seasons, Getzlaf 35 and Parise 36, are pretty much on the same scoring pace as Duchene 30, Kessel 33, Bjorkstrand 25, Rantanen 24, PL Dubois 22 etc.

      Not so sure its time to hang them up just yet.

    • Skinner plays on the fourth line with Lazar about 10 minutes even strength a game and only last 20-30 seconds of PPs sometimes. How many goal scorers could score well with an AHL center and only 10 minutes? Laine complained about being on a second line imagine if he was playing 4th line?

  2. It is my educated guess if the Rangers want Eichel, the Sabres will start the conversation off with Lafreniere and…

    • The way laffy is playing START is the key word! The rangers shouldn’t be looking at forwards they need defence more than anything

      • Rangers record would look very different if their PP clicked and if their top forwards could finish

        somehow this make shift D is not the problem

        Fox played 30 minutes last night

        Kakko looks strong but he is a playmaker and needs someone to feed. The Rangers too many cooks and not enough eaters upfront

      • Fox is exactly what I said he would be.
        Kakko and Laffy just need more time in the league. They will both be fine players.

      • DS, yes the Rangers record would look much different if they won more games.

      • @nucks
        6 1 goal loses and their 41 goal scorer has 1 whopping goal

        why the troll dude?

      • DS, no troll just thought it was a funny argument, if they were playing better they’d have a better record. Can’t disagree.

      • fair play

        overall team play not the issue though…its the top tier talent faultering

  3. In Rask’s own words he doesn’t want to play for any other team.I suspect he’d just retire.

    • Boston will resign Rask, they have no one better.

      Rask still has some good years remaining.

      3yrs at $6m per

      • Flip him for Andersen.

      • Sop no thanks, I want the Bruins to at least have a chance.

      • I agree with you there Caper. The ball is completely in Rask’s court there…how much longer does he want to play?

  4. Ryan Rishaug is Edmonton based TSN reporter. They are not allowed to say any player wants to leave Edmonton. It is kind of like clic hunting by mentioning the Leafs or Canadiens when they have nothing to do with the story.

    He left out the other required misleading element. Nugent-Hopkins has indicated he will take a home town discount.

    • I like Rishaug OBD, I often have TSN 1260 on in the office during the day, and his takes are often spot on. He says what he thinks, and if he is speculating he says so. Not a suck up to the Oilers at all, nor is the local Sportsnet reporter Mark Spector.

      Spector even got shut out by the Oilers on the broadcasts for a bit back in the dark days. He was scathing. And right.

    • IMHO, Oilers would be flat out crazy to let Nugent-Hopkins leave. Why not make their best offer, NOW ? are teams and players allowed to negotiate, at the present time ? or, have the rules changed, because of Covid ?

    • Ray, that doesn’t sound like a productive work place; sports radio on while at work. Hmmmm I hope you stay late to finnish the day tasks. Jk

    • Caper, shhhh.
      It is a fair statement as I distribute more work than I actually do.
      Gotta say Covid has given me way more time as I don’t travel anymore and no face to face meetings allowed in our customer base.

  5. I know he’s been outstanding this season but I am not sold on Rasks attitude he can never win the big game when all the cards are on the table he folds like cheap pup tent. And why on earth is Moore still playing?!? The guy is a liability waiting to happen on the ice. I insert Urho in the lineup before putting Moore on the ice. Give the b’s a bye against the islanders but new jersey?! Come on! Some players need to sit after Thursday’s game!

  6. I say , do a blockbuster in Toronto …
    Nylander and Tavares are asleep
    Eichel and Hall are under performing ..
    Hall is not signed after this year, that will have to be rectified .
    The deal is a wash, cap wise
    18 million on both sides ..
    Toronto adds a sweetener ..

  7. Eichel and Hall to Toronto
    Both under performing
    Tavares and Nylander to Buffalo
    Desk is a wash – as per the salary cap ..
    Hall is unsigned after this year, which will have to be rectified beforehand
    Toronto adds a sweetener !!

    • Yes, Ken. I am sure that Tavares is chomping at the bit to shuffle off to Buffalo.

      Who wouldn’t waive their hard earned NMC for a chance to finish last in Buffalo.

  8. Regardless of what Eichel supposedly says, the team is underperforming, this should be a high powered offence and has a stud on D.

    It isn’t Eichel that should be traded, it’s the coach, Kreuger seems to be out of his depth.

    Gerard Gallant might turn these guys loose and into winners.

    • Agree Habsfan a coaching change might be the cure although they’ve had many and nothing has changed. Gallant would be a great pick up imo. Get an offensive coach and let these guys loose, at least they’ll have fun.

    • Gallant may be the next Nashville coach OR Detroit coach…. not sure he wants the Buffalo situation.

      • Seattle is my pick , he is too good a coach to be out of a job and they likely have an agreement in principle….but if I had a 2nd choice Wings would be it , he has a few connections in Detroit

      • There’s a lot of talent in Buffalo Crosby. If I’m a coach in the NHL I might look at that and say I can turn it around.

      • @ Roger

        Think less of talent and more of the ownership and how they have handeld both buffalo teams over the last few years. Not a stable environment from yes looking in IMO.

        Talent may be there. Future may be there but does it make it the right job and enticing to boot?

        Just IMO

        Heck even calm Patty LaFontaine left.

    • Habfan, you might be right but, Krueger probably only reason Hall signed there. If they fire him, and Eichel looks to get dealt, Hall as good as gone. New division not helping Buffalos cause. Playing same 7 teams only. 5 of which had 80 points or better last season and are considered playoff contenders this year.

  9. I’m not sure the rangers do have the assets to get eichel. A package surrounding laf or kakko not all that appealing at this time.

    Unless it’s a family thing I don’t get getzlaf not wanting to move to a contender. He gets a shot … then he gets to resign with Ana that is now an asset better.

    • Moore & Debrusk to ANA for Getzalf 25% retained?

      • Throw in Rask and Kuraly and add Gibson on the other end and it’s a deal for this guy.

  10. Nashville needs a new GM
    Poile hasn’t lived up to his end , with the long tenure in Nashville
    I agree with Gallant, he got a raw deal in Vegas , unfortunate
    Still need a team to take Tavares and Nylander to new Horizons!!
    Wishful thinking , I think ..
    Nylander is marketable , Tavares and his albatross contract and performance is a “huge” concern

    • Yeah. A point a game player is a real problem.
      Might as well cut bait on Mitch and Matthews as well.

      • A pt a Game player shore or park , What game are you watching ….
        Nylander and Tavares have contributed absolutely “ zilch” this year and a detriment to the club !!!

      • JT is a point per game player since he’s joined the TML. Prove me wrong or dance fight me.

      • 🕺🏿

  11. I think the only way the Sabres can move Eichel would be if they found a way to bring Patrick Kane in. Chicago is playing beyond expectations so cannot see it.

    But for Buffalo to sell Eichel and not replace for the crowd….. Blyfeld or Laf wont make fans happy right now

  12. Lafreniere is 19 and has all of 15 career games. Kakko 1 year under his belt and just turned 20. Laughable to pass judgement on either, especially when you look at Rangers centers they’ve mostly played with. BTW. Eichel has 2 goals. Same as Kakko and 1 more than Laf. By no means am I comparing players. If Rangers where putting a package together, they have plenty of other assets besides those 2. In any deal, with any team, Buffalo would have to take some salary back.

    • @Slick62
      I would not trade Laf for Eichel I was just saying from Sabre fan point of view they have a ‘star’ now who yes doesnt win with them but he is a very good player. If they trade him is it a new rebuild?
      they have some very good pieces

      Rangers need a center but not a 10mil guy

    • Are you about to propose DeAngelo and Strom as starters?
      Asking for the rest of the regular readers. 😉

      • Think this one calls for a Smith and Jack Johnson start 🙂

        I’ll go first.

      • Realistically it would look more like Zibby plus for Eichel

      • Shore. You now speak for everyone? Honestly, Buffalo would be crazy to trade Eichel. Either way, nothing happening until off season if they do. And no. They’d have no need for DeAngelo.
        ds. I wasn’t directing previous comment at you, but Eichel at 10m as a top center at his age? Heck yeah! Zib will be entering last year of his deal and will be 29. There’s no way Rangers pay him that much.

      • Slick, I only speak for myself. It was obviously a failed attempt at humor. I’m sorry if I ruffled your feathers……but just for fun, what are the assets you speak of in order to pry young Jack out of Buffalo?

      • Ha! @sop

      • I thought it was funny at the time of and immediately after I hit submit.

        Upon further reflection, I stand firm with my previous assessment. Sometimes I crack me up.

      • I almost made a similar joke. You can’t swing a knee hockey stick around rangers fans without a strome and or deangelo trade coming out. It’s like me as a pens fan starting every trade proposal out with matheson and McCann.

      • Heh heh Chrisms

        Matheson has had 3 consecutive absolutely great games

        Will it continue like that for rest of year….. mmmmm naaaah

        But it was fun watching him these last three games

    • Well if the Rangers don’t want Eichel, the Bruins will take him this summer.
      Only guy I can see Buf taking is McAvoy and B’s would have to add.
      B’s fans would you do that?

      • I’m not saying Eichel isn’t worth it but I wouldn’t do that trade ever. I think McAvoy is the next leader on the blueline that the Bruins have almost always had. Too hard to replace that.

      • Jack Studnicka, McAvoy plus 1st & something for Eichel would get it done in the offseason…no???

      • I BosBrn32, it hurt me to type it. Luv Charlie, and he has his head on straight. Do we know that about Eichel? Not saying he doesn’t just saying we know what we have in Charlie.
        But Eichel is really good.

  13. I would. #1 Center for a #1 Defenseman. Works for me, but we’re adding to Charlie, like you said.

  14. Skinner-at $9m for 1 helper.
    I am thinking that move cost Botterill his job. Hall is top end when he plays. On the shelf again early in the season.
    The Sabres don’t look that bad on paper. They have some pieces. An A1 goal tender would help.

  15. Tavares has a full no movement clause so Leafs are stuck with him as he ages twice as faster as every one else. If they can do Tavares, Kerfoot and Dermott to BUF for Eichel, that would be good. Tavares would never give up his pyjamas.

    • Tavares last 3 years as a leaf – 163 gp, 79g, 85 assist, 164 points and a +17
      Eichel last 3 years 168 gp, 66 g, 106 assissts, 172 points and a minus 14.

      • Pretty similar stats wise but yet according to you guys ones an ok contact and the other is an anchor. Interesting. Or is it based on assumptions that he falls off a click in his early 30’s. Because I’m sure the elite players all fall off a cliff in there early 30’s

      • I think it’s a fair contract for JT. Not a deal by any stretch, but fair nonetheless.

    • Frank, give it up, man. You’re just plain tiresome.

  16. Getzlaf staying or going is all on him

    36 on the last day of (currently scheduled) season

    His wife is from the OC; and they are raising 4 children there

    To me; he only is going (if at all) to a contender

    The perfect fit for him is Knights …. 4 hours from fam; true contender

    Can Knights afford him Cap-wise… yep 50% retained; for Martinez (young Knights D doing great)

    Getzlaf slots in at 3C allowing Glass to be on wing

    Knights have NJ’s second and Tons O’ prospects to make the trade happen

    Again…. all on Getzlaf; and he’d have to make the first move

    Getzlaf on Knights…. they go from top 3 Cup favs right up to number 1

    Likelihood … as at now … <20%

    • Not crazy Pengy, but I think Vegas keeps the vet D man for playoffs.

      • You’re probably right Ray

        It’s the only way he gets on Knights w/o some serious upheaval that’s why I was using Martinez as an example

        I don’t see Knights re-upping Martinez as Hague is coming on… way bigger (5” taller; 15 lbs heavier) much faster, 11 years younger; but most importantly …less than 1/5th the Cap hit of Martinez

        Knights already have a cup contending team this year and all players but 2 are under contract for at least next year…. the two are Martinez and Nosek

        Knights are exempt from the expansion draft

        So they could re-sign Nosek and dress the same team (save for Hague in for Martinez)

      • Knights are exempt from the expansion draft? Wow, I never knew that.
        A 7 game VEG vs TB series would be a good one.

  17. Eichel for Gaudreau and Monahan

    • Haha that might not be enough for Eichel, honestly, but I’d do that in a heartbeat from Calgary’s perspective 😀

  18. Does NYI do Barzal & Dobson for Eichel?? Does Buffalo??

  19. RNH was almost a PPG last year.

    He had 8 points in the 4 playoff games (2 PPG) last year

    He has the great agility and flexibility to be moved to W or C

    Still 27; will be 28 in a couple of months

    Yes slight; but great hands and hockey IQ

    Would be in high demand as a UFA

    I believe his pref is to stay and as said here… possibly willing to take a hometown discount…. what is the hometown discount?

    Is it same $6 M Cap for 8 years with big SBs in the early years?

    Sal @ $5 M for 5 years; then $3M, $2M, $1M in last 3; the rest in SBs over the first 4 years???

    Will be interesting

    • I don’t think RNH signs for what he makes now. I think a team like BOS or NYR would be all over him if he hit the market. His agent must know that. He wants to stay, sure, but it has to be reasonable. 6 x $7? Rumor is he wants $8, Oil offered 6.
      Kill penalties too, at least did all of last year and their PK was near or at the top. High end 2C, low end 1C.
      I get the economics are tough with a flat cap, but I think they sign this guy.

  20. Jeremy Rutherford (The Athletic) indicated he thought J. Binnington could end up as high as 6.5 million for 5-7 years—scary!?!

  21. I remember Lyle saying the Sabers should sign Skinner to show that they care about winning. Since Skinner has signed that contract, he’s been pretty bad. And now they are pretty much stuck with him

    • Here’s what I wrote the day Skinner was re-signed: Critics of Sabres general manager Jason Botterill quickly took to social media saying he overpaid to keep Skinner in the fold. They point to the decline in his goal production over the final two months of this season as a cause for concern.

      Botterill, however, had little choice. Skinner established strong offensive chemistry with Sabres captain Jack Eichel. Letting him walk via free agency would’ve sent the wrong message to Eichel and his teammates, as well as the Sabres’ long-suffering fans.

      Yes, this could end up being an expensive mistake by Botterill. But if Skinner continues to produce on Eichel’s line and helps turn the Sabres into a playoff team”.


  22. Even if Buffalo hit it out of the park with Skinner too much ,way too much. Almost dumb. If that is what it took to keep him at the time, let him walk. No matter what the message or how Eichel felt. Cost Botterill his job- I believe. If they are lucky maybe able to dump him for 50% retained but not for years to come.

  23. I’d love to see the Flyers go in for Eichel if he goes to market.

    Something like Hayes, Patrick, Frost and Ghost for Eichel, Lazar and Sheahan.

    Flyers still very strong, if not stronger down the middle with Coots, Eichel, Laughton. Lazar and Sheahan are decent 4th line depth players.

    Sabres get 3 NHL ready Cs and a solid puck moving D man. If some of the Sabres youth pans out and Frost and Patrick continue to develop then it’s the right start of a rebuild.