NHL Rumor Mill – February 23, 2021

by | Feb 23, 2021 | Rumors | 40 comments

Analysis of a list of early potential trade-rental candidates in today’s NHL rumor mill.

SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently examined the potential trade-rental candidates among this year’s NHL cellar-dwelling teams. He considers the pickings slim for those pending unrestricted free agents who could become available at the Apr. 12 trade deadline.

The notable names on the Buffalo Sabres include Taylor Hall, Eric Staal and Brandon Montour. Bobby Ryan and Marc Staal are among the Detroit Red Wings’ pending UFAs. Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Pekka Rinne are the noteworthy Nashville Predators while the Ottawa Senators’ list includes Derek Stepan and Ryan Dzingel.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

Hall is the standout in this group and Fox is skeptical he’ll sign an extension with the struggling Sabres. He feels Buffalo general manager Kevyn Adams must move Hall if he hasn’t re-signed by Apr. 11.

Eric Staal must submit a 10-team no-trade list. Centers are always in demand and he carries a reasonable $3.25 million salary-cap hit. Brother Marc, meanwhile, could help clubs in need of a dependable, stay-at-home defenseman.

Fox feels Stepan and Haula could help a contender seeking a third-line center. Montour, a right-handed shot, is only 26 and should still have better days ahead.

Granlund could be more successful playing sheltered minutes on a good team’s third line than trying to produce on a bad team’s top line. If the Toronto Maple Leafs were willing to take a chance on Alex Galchenyuk then someone should be willing to take a chance on Dzingel.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I agree with Fox’s assessment of the limited trade options available for contenders seeking quality playoff rental options. Nevertheless, I’d like to add a few points.

Fox published this list of pending UFAs prior to Friedman’s report last Saturday listing Rinne among the Predators’ three untouchables along with Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis. It sounds like Nashville GM David Poile wants the 38-year-old to finish his NHL career with the only team he’s ever played for. His age, $5 million cap hit and declining performance would significantly hurt his trade value even if he was available.

Ryan could be an affordable gamble for a club seeking an experienced depth forward. He’s on a $1 million contract and has nine points in 19 games with the rebuilding Red Wings. He turns 34 next month and his best years are behind him. However, a playoff contender could gamble on him rising to the occasion the way Corey Perry did for the Dallas Stars in last year’s postseason.

Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman last week linked Granlund with the Leafs, noting they tried to sign him last fall but couldn’t make the dollars fit. Perhaps they’ll try to acquire him if they still want to add a top-six forward before the deadline.


  1. I’d add Duby to the list of viable TDL acquisitions. Fair numbers right now… 2.88 and .910. He certainly “fills” the net with his size.

    As at now I don’t see Sharks making it

    Duby already on retained Sal/Cap

    Sharks could flip him at TDL , retaining 50% of what is on their books, and receiving team gets him (after escrow and retention) for about $340K cash and only an annual cap hit just shy of $1.1M… at TDL only about 1/3rd of year left… so required Cap space only about $360 K ($1.1 M/3) … pretty well most teams could fit him in.

    Great for a cup run

    a 2nd ?

    Would love Staal on Pens

    Is he going to retire after this year (37 in fall)…. chance at another cup?

    If a contender is not already on his list , I could certainly see him waive for that

    • Staal has been trash for at least 10 years, ever since his brother gave him a concussion. I want nothing to do with him. Matheson and Ceci are not ideal but they are playing well enough to keep, they are both much better than Jack was.

      • He means Eric not Marc

      • Hi Dee

        yes Eric not Marc

        Would be great at 3C and 2nd PP, on Pens

        Small sample size but Matheson has looked very very good last few games

        Ceci has been consistently fine on 3rd pairing all year

        P-O J came out gangbusters and had two costly mistakes over the last 3 games but I don’t believe that will be the norm

        Dumo back soon

        Will have an extra LD soon

        Marino has had some tough games but the last two tells me that he has worked through them; all good there

        McC will come back

        The only major concerns are Zucker (big big concerns) and the third line

        Staal at 3C would go a long way

    • Why would the Sharks do that?

      • Hi dpf

        Sorry if I inferred Sharks would definitely do that

        If Sharks are in the playoff hunt, they won’t

        If they are out considerably…. Inreally think they would retain 50% …. the Cap is irrelevant to them if they are out; Duby is UFA, and retaining 50% at TDL costs them max $340 K cash but allows waaay more teams to “fit” Duby in…. more bidders, higher return

        I think 50% retained gets a 2nd and maybe a late rounder as well

        No retention… maybe 1 or two teams … a 3rd??

        Just speculating

    • Another goalie that a contender might consider is Jonathan Bernier. 2.74 GAA / .910……UFA at the end of the season, $3M salary. He has played some stellar hockey behind a suspect defense, and absolutely stole a game Saturday against Florida.

      • Yep true Iago

        And 50% retained at TDL …. after escrow and retention…. cost is only $670 K, and annual cap of $1.5 M (so only $500 K Cap space needed)

        To me Duby a little better; but Bernier would also be a good add

    • Pengy..I would love Stahl too!! He would be a great add for a more competitive run and short term investment..

      If we could swing a package deal Stahl Montour to Pittsburgh

      Pettersson Sceuvior rudwhedel to buffalo

      • Hi BnG

        Yep Staal on Pens would be great

        Pens need more strength on 3rd line rather than another RD…. so Montour add might not happen

        Staal and Montour for Pettersson and Sceviour and Ruhweedel would be nice but Adams, in no way, takes that deal

        I’d rather do

        Pettersson and Zucker and a prospect NOT named Poulin and NOT named Legare

        (Even if it took two prospects)

        For Staal and Reinhardt

        Sid Guentz Kappy

        Gino Rusty Reinhardt

        Staal McC Turbo

        Blueger ZAR and one of Rodrigues , Sceviour , or Jankowski

        Tanger Dumo

        Marino Matheson

        Ceci P-O J


  2. Eric Staal would look great centering the Pens 3rd line (anything to get Mark Janikowski into a suit and into the pressbox with a mask) but I don’t see Hextall giving up too much for him. Pens just don’t have enough trade chips at the present moment without diving into their core. Eventually they have to hold onto their first rounders, the cupboard is bare, especially with no first next draft.

    After another playoff collapse Hextall & Burke will convince Mario that this team needs a total makeover. I am obviously just guessing but unless he’s traded to Florida Malkin may just retire if approached. The way he’s playing this year he already looks retired on most nights. And you all know by now how I feel about Letang. The biggest decision will be about the goaltending. And that will be up to Jarry.

  3. The Leafs need to add some skill to their 5@45. They have depth and added lots of character albeit old -Spezza Thornton and Simmonds. Kerfoot is not doing it for me. Second PP weak.
    Montour’s name comes up every TD

    To rent Hall will still cost $3m or so in cap hit. He didn’t cost the Sabres anything .

  4. I will throw my own potential rental, obviously i’m just slightly bias toward Boston.

    With that in mind i’m looking for a potential LD and wondering if Dallas continue to stumble down the standings. Could Jamie Oleksiak be a fit on the Bruins left side.

    He certainly brings size 6’7″ 255lbs caphit is only $2.137

    No he isn’t an offensive type or big name add (Just big) but the kind of addition that certainly helps and may not break the bank.

    • He’s a big strong guy for sure, decent stay at home type. Willing to drop the gloves with anyone in the league if needed. He was traded to Dallas for a 4th round pick so yeah he shouldn’t cost much to acquire. I’m good with him joining Boston.

      Imagine a bottom pairing of Oleksiak and Miller…definitely want to keep your head up facing them.

      • Got a kick out of this. He was traded to Dallas because of his unwillingness to fight Tom Wilson

      • I guess I don’t remember that. I remember Wilson throwing a dirty hit on someone then refusing to fight Oleksiak.

        I also remember Wilson and Oleksiak fighting, eventually, with Wilson landing a punch that about knocked Oleksiak out.

        I’m not a Pens fan so there certainly could be details I’m unaware of.

      • Yeah. His refusal to get tough after that was rumored to be why he got shipped out.

      • He certainly picks his spots. Usually when a guy is at the end of a shift. That’s what I’ve noticed, at least. I don’t care for the player.
        I’d take a run at Jason Demers out of AZ, or Sekera from Dallas.
        Bruins don’t really need fighters, they need goals and goal suppression.
        That’s only my opinion.

    • Hi Caper

      Big Jamie O would be very good for Bruins

      However, This Leafs and Pens fan says … please no

  5. I can’t really see the fit. But the poet in me wishes that Carolina could bring Staal home for another cup run!

    Again, not sure of the fit, but even if its on the wing, Florida could be a good fit. The team could use some additional playoff experience in their forward group.

  6. I dont see Hextall moving any picks or prospects to add a washed up Staal or anyone else to the Pens roster. Most likely going to let Club Sid wither and die on the vine before sitting with Lemieux and laying out the plan for the future.

    The window is closed in Pittsburgh. No depth at forward, inadequate defence, minor league goaltending. No or very few prospects, limited cap space and not much capital in draft picks.

    Moving Malkin and Letang should be step one in Pittsburgh. Get what they can for them in picks or prospects without retaining salary.

    Penguins need a complete overhaul, the sooner the better.

    • Ron Jull..I 100% disagree with you and still think the window is open for 2 more years.

      Look we have played most of the season with dumoulin out, pettersson out, rikola out, letang missed time, McCann has missed time, and goaltenders have been average.

      We are starting to get healthy and Jarry is looking lime tha all star he was last year.

      We need to add depth scoring and with new management that will happen..

      We are still in the playoff mix and havent been healthy or gone on a run..we will.

      4 of the last 5..
      Retool not rebuild.

  7. From Rangers, DeAngelo still available if someone wants to gamble for playoff PP QB. Can buy him out at seasons end which Rangers are planning.

    • Slick would ya do ADA for Adam Henrique is ANA holds salary to match what ADA makes?

      • IHC. Ducks signed Shattenkirk in off season. Don’t think they’d have any use for DeAngelo. I think the only way he plays this year is if a contender takes him at deadline. I also don’t think Rangers would have interest in Henrique. They can buyout DeAngelo for cheap next off season and as long as there’s a chance Eichel could become an option, they’re not tying up cap save in an over 30 guy.

  8. Old Blue Dog, this is for you. Too late yesterday I saw your comment about Montreal not having talent. I think you meant elite talent like Matthews, McDavid, or Crosby.

    True, the Habs don’t have anyone like that. Championship teams do need a game breaker. But it takes depth as well. Crosby had Malkin and other talent when the Pens won the Cup. The Oilers and the Leafs haven’t won the Cup, and won’t this year, because they don’t.

    You predict the Habs will continue to slide unless they get a game breaker. Not so fast, OBD. There is a difference between talent and execution. The Habs have a balanced line up that can score and defend. True they are in a slide right now but they have the talent to right the ship.

    Frankly, I am happier with the Habs line up as a whole than the Leafs. Matthews is showing himself to be elite and Marner is very good. But the Leafs fate rests on Matthews – one player. Is there any meaningful debate to engage in about the Leafs if Matthews is neutralized, goes into a slump or is injured?

    Talent without execution is like having no talent at all. But the Habs had better and more scoring chances against the Leafs. With respect to the plucky Senators, they manufactured their loss to the Sens through poor execution.

    They have the talent to turn things around. They will go further in the playoffs than the Leafs.

    • Talent only gets you so far look at the leafs and Edmonton, playoffs are heart and determination marner,matthews and Tavares lack that when the going gets tough

      • Hey bbb !

        You’re infatuation with the leafs is well documented here.
        Do you flip a coin every morning, to see who you are that day?

        Anyway…carry on.

        Fair point Lj, ill add the Habs along with the Oilers and leafs who will not win the cup this year.

      • It takes time for players to figure out what it takes to win in the playoffs. Took Washington 10 years. Everybody was all over Tampa Bay because they weren’t showing signs of getting there but they won last year. Colorado is in the same boat as the leafs a lot of young talent but they haven’t figure out the playoffs yet. It takes time so why are the leafs any different then the other teams mentioned. Tampa was smart and brought in players with something to proof to kick start the young guys. Leafs are using the exact same model. They still have a few years to figure it out although I hope they figure it out sooner rather then later. Can’t wait for the leaf hater excuses now. It’s because of Covid, Leafs just got lucky, there know way they should have won. Would be a good laugh. They are an incredibly talented group capable of beating any team they just have to want it more. That’s a hard thing when most of your star players are under 25. I’m sure all you leaf haters had life figured out by then though.

    • Montreal has a balanced line up of 2nd and 3rd liners. There stats are over inflated because they’ve had the fortune of playing half there games against Vancouver and Ottawa. Every team is feasting on them. Montreal has 6 players with at least 10 points and nobody at a point per game. The leafs have 9 players and the 19 is Thornton who has 9 points in 9 games. John Tavares would be the leading scorer on the Habs. Spezza has more points than KK and only 1 point less than Anderson. Better scoring balance then Montreal by a mile. Price is still in the bottom. Half of every relevant goalie stat. Nothing has changed in Montreal. They were just lucky enough to start the season. Playing the 2 worst teams in the division a lot. If you want balance the leafs are 8-3-1 at home and 6-1-1 away now that’s balance. By the way Montreal is now in 4th and Calgary is breathing down there necks. Good thing Montreal has Ottawa 2 more times this week. Facts are Facts sorry.

      • Toronto has played Ottawa 5 times and Vancouver 3 times going 6 and 2.
        Montreal has played Ottawa 3 times and Vancouver 5 times going 5 and 3.
        Yep. Huge difference there.
        Pretty sure they both play those opponents the same number of times.
        Fact is, there’s lots of time to see who the better team will be. I pick Winnipeg and Edmonton.

      • Roger, Roger, Roger. You do pick your facts selectively, don’t you.

        Toffoli and Petry each have 16 points in 17 games. Tavares has more points than either because he has played 3 more games.

        Calgary is just behind the Habs because they have played two more games.

        The Habs’ hot start was luck? Doesn’t sound like a fact to me; sounds like bias.

        There were two main newspapers in the Soviet Union: Truth, and News. The joke was: There is no news in Truth, and there is no truth in News.

        Did you write for them?

      • LJ I didn’t day that Montreals games at the beginning were luck. I simply stated that half there games were against the 2 worst teams in the division and that’s the truth. As for games in hand you do know those have to be won which Montreal should do as again they are playing by far the worst team in the division 2 more times this week. Calgary gets them next week so let’s see the standings after that.

      • That is correct Shoepark as stated Montreal has played half there games against the 2 bottom teams in the league. The leafs a little less than that as they’ve also played a few more games. Doesn’t make my statement less true. You also confirmed my point they have to play each team 10 times by the end of this week they will have already used up half the games against Vancouver and Ottawa so that means here comes more of the better teams. That will be the measuring stick for where Montreal actually is so it goes back to my point are there stats a little over inflated at the moment? How will they fair against those other teams. Even worse those other teams will also get to feast on Vancouver and Ottawa for 10 games. What will that mean in the standings when a team like Calgary who has yet to even play Ottawa gets to feast on them?

      • Roger: I responded to this luck reference from you:

        “Nothing has changed in Montreal. They were just lucky enough to start the season.” Ok, you have clarified that, but you were still … shall we say imprecise … with your other comments.

        However, you are correct, games in hand have to be won.

        Yes, we let’s see where things lie in a week. But, Ottawa is surprisingly pesky. They play both Montreal and Toronto hard, so let’s not be so quick to call them the worst team. My feeling is they may not make the playoffs but they will make the # 4 team in the division nervous.

      • The Oil get the Leafs for 3 straight starting Saturday. Hopefully they get a D or 2 back by then.
        Gonna be interesting. Oil need to win 2 of them to close the gap. Fans here haven’t given up on catching them.

        If anyone cares, IMO the Leafs are a better team than the Habs. And I dislike both teams more than any other in the NHL.

        Question for Hab fans – If Price continues to struggle, will Claude have the nuts to start Allen in the playoffs?

        Question for Leaf fans – miss Anderson yet? What is he going to cost at the end of the year?

        Yes I am trolling.

      • Ray: I hope Julien starts giving Allen more starts. I can’t fault Price for the 5 goals the Leafs scored but it is still 5 goals. The season is short, losses are magnified

        Price has to be better, and more consistent. If not I would leave him exposed for Seattle and protect Allen.

      • I don’t think they can expose him LJ, full NMC.
        Like OBD says below, he can find it again.

    • LJ, the habs don’t concern me at this point they are playing now the way I expected them to start.

      Big turnover in the off season, new players needing to learn a new system and the players are definitely an upgrade over last year.

      They are built for the playoffs and to be frank I’m fine if they just slide in and do damage then.

    • LJ…thanks for thoughtfully responding. Yes, I did mean Montreal is not without talent but without the elite talent. I also agree that there is far more than elite talent to winning. Toronto is missing leadership, a stud defenseman and to some extent sufficient will to win to suffer some slings and arrows on unkind fortune and get back up again. This Montreal has by the bucket load.

      But IMO their defense may be the slowest in the league, their 1 and 2 centre are too small and too light. Their elite goalie has currently lost his elitism but that could easily return.

      we don’t get to see the Canadian teams play the US based teams but I don’t like the chances of any them to beat Boston, Washington, Tampa, Colorado or Vegas. That is 5 teams so I think any storms between Canadian teams may prove out to be storms in a teacup.