NHL Rumor Mill – February 25, 2021

by | Feb 25, 2021 | Rumors | 34 comments

Could the Flyers pursue Mattias Ekholm? What’s the latest Bruins speculation? Find out in today’s NHL rumor mill.


PHILLY.COM: Sam Carchidi recently suggested Mattias Ekholm might be a fit on the Philadelphia Flyers’ blueline. He considered the 30-year-old Nashville Predators blueliner as “the most interesting veteran defenseman who might be on the market.”

Would Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm be a good fit with the Philadelphia Flyers? (NHL Images)

Carchidi observed the 6’4”, 215-pound Ekholm can be a first- or second-pairing defender with an affordable $3.75 million cap hit and can log over 21 minutes per game. The downside is he’s a left-shot rearguard, acquiring him could interfere with the Flyers’ protection list for this summer’s expansion draft and it would probably take a high draft pick and quality prospect to acquire him.

THE ATHLETIC: Charlie O’Connor and Adam Vingan pointed out colleague Pierre LeBrun included the Flyers on his list of four possible landing spots for Ekholm, with the Boston Bruins, Winnipeg Jets and Washington Capitals as the others.

Despite being a left-hand shot, Ekholm played on the right side last season when Predators’ d-man Ryan Ellis was sidelined. One reason the Predators could trade him is to protect Ellis, Roman Josi and Dante Fabbro in the expansion draft. O’Connor believes the Flyers might prefer acquiring a rental defenseman on an expiring contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm would be a good fit with any of those four teams suggested by LeBrun. The Bruins might be the best one as they’ve been using younger players on the left side of their defense corps this season. It’s going well so far but injuries to Matt Grzelcyk and Jeremy Lauzon could have them considering an experienced, affordable short-term addition.

Speaking of the Bruins…


THE ATHLETIC: Fluto Shinzawa recently examined the Boston Bruins’ options if long-time center David Krejci departs this summer via free agency. He suggested there would be “turbulence” if Charlie Coyle, Jack Studnicka and Trent Frederic slot in at center behind Patrice Bergeron as rival clubs would attack those centers just as they’ve done this season with the Bruins’ young defensemen. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney tends not to re-sign pending UFAs.

In a recent mailbag segment, Shinzawa dismissed the notion of the Bruins using their cap space next season to take on a bad contract to gain extra draft picks and/or prospects. He also believes they’ll attempt to shore up their depth at center over the next couple of years via the draft and perhaps the trade market.

Bruins management and coaching staff might share the fans’ frustration over Jake DeBrusk’s development thus far but Shinawa feels the 24-year-old winger still has too much to toss aside, citing the risk he might blossom elsewhere. He also believes they’d be selling low at this point. He sees the Bruins’ signing goaltender Tuukka Rask to a contract extension.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s going to be interesting to see what the Bruins do with Krejci. If he’s willing to take a pay cut on a short-term deal they’ll keep him. The question is whether he thinks he can get a better deal in a free-agent market where the salary cap is expected to remain flattened. I have my doubts that he wants to move on from the only NHL team he’s ever played for.

DeBrusk’s name has floated in the rumor mill for some time. However, if he had suitable value that would help the Bruins he would’ve been traded by now.

Most speculation I’ve read and heard suggests they would want a good NHL player in return and not a draft pick/prospect package. There was some talk of a DeBrusk-for-Jake Virtanen swap with Vancouver but I don’t see that happening. Virtanen wouldn’t be an improvement over DeBrusk.


  1. Krejci back with Bruins certainly a possibility

    …. but re

    “ If he’s willing to take a pay cut”

    He has to IMHO

    No team in this flat Cap era is paying him $7.25 M

    And… he will be on a 35+ contract… so any contract that is more than 1 year that declines or has a SB past the first year…. stays on Cap even if player retires (see cut/paste of new 35+ rule below)

    My guess… either 1 year at 5.5 – 6; or 2 year at 5 – 5.5 with no SB second year and same remuneration both years

    I think he retires a Bruin

    • 64. 35+ Year Old Rule for Cap Counting

      CBA §50.5(d)(i)(B)(5) shall have no application to a multi-year SPC that has: (1) total compensation (Player Salary and Bonuses) that is either the same as or increases from one League Year to the immediately subsequent League Year, and (2) a Signing Bonus, if any, that is payable in the first year of the SPC only.

  2. Sweeney & Neely let Krecji walk just like they did with Chara … he’ll be lucky to get a contract worth 2 million next season … the Bruins are in much better shape than most teams in the NHL …

    • The only way that they let DK walk is if he wants over 5 Mill. Anything more does not make any sense for the Bruins or any other team with a flat cap. He has never been a player I felt compelled to keep, but I have grown to appreciate what he brings to the table and hope he resigns a team friendly deal that allows them to sign a scorer to play his wing.

      • Krejci has quietly had a heck of a career in Boston. His 696 career points put him 8th on Bruins all-time list. He’s 34 years old and could move into 7th with a couple of decent seasons. He’s also put up 115 points in 145 career playoff games.
        For the last 7 or 8 years he’s done that with revolving doors on his wings. When Bergeron has been out with injuries, Krejci has filled in admirably on the top line. He should be back next year to celebrate his 1,000th game in a Bruins uniform and IMO should have his number in the rafters someday.

        With that said, no way is anyone paying him close to the $7.25M he’s making on his current contract. I’m thinking 2 years at $4.5M or 3 years at $4M AAV would be reasonable.

      • I agree to my point that I hope he does sign, I also hope that he signs for only 2 years. To me 4 to 4.5 in the number.

        The trouble the Bruins have is DK is superior to Coyle and he makes over 5 mill so it will be interesting to see what happens.

  3. As a long time die hard Bruin fan I hope they let Krech walk he is slowing down and I realize he hasn’t had much to work with. NHL is a young mans game time for Jack and Charlie to step up their games. Nate or Austin would look good in black and gold just saying keep your options open.

    • Hi Obe

      I certainly don’t see McK or AM being traded to Bruins…. but what about Eichel ?

      • As much as I would love to see Eichel in Boston, his cap hit and thinking about the assets it would take to acquire him would be tough…I’m not even sure what package the Bruins could offer that would make sense for Buffalo.

      • I was talking down the road UFA,s just a pipe dream depends where franchise is at but Pasta and a top center would be special to watch. For Eichel he would definitely be an upgrade over Krech and would fill in nicely when Bergeron retires. Take a boatload to get him not sure how many teams could add 10 million to cap hit.

      • No way any team is going to take on that contract. Also their are rumors that Eichel may have a hip issue

    • It is a young man’s game Obe, just not many options out there unless Nuge tests the market. Not sure about Jack, gets knocked around pretty good out there, needs to put some meat on.

      If they have some playoff success this year, I think they keep Krecji around at a reasonable deal, if not? Not sure what they do.

  4. I don’t see why Nashville wouldn’t be protecting 4 defenseman. Do they have more than 4 forwards they want to keep?

  5. DK will be resigned no more than 5 million 2 yrs. he has not slowed down he has been a solid rock on the second line, on the the first PP,and for an offensive center has logged a lot of time on the PK basically his entire career. Revolving RW since 2013and is the only Bruin that when injured they have a losing record. 8 ty all time on Bruins all time scoring list. There’s no suitable replacement for him waiting in the wings. Coyle is a third line center by no means a second as for Studz and Freddie they still need a couple yrs after this season.the only reason we have any issues is because of injury riddled D.but I don’t expect them to go after a bigger name only to risk losing them to the expansion draft.as for Jake the only way I’m good with moving him is for a clear upgrade. He suffers like DK with the revolving door of right wings. It makes it easier for opposing D to cover them when guys like Kulman playing wing with them. I believe the remaining 2011 core stays together for 2 more yrs.

  6. David Krejci must be one of the most unappreciated Bruins of all time.

    He is unassuming and says very little.

    His game isn’t built on speed, it’s Hockey IQ and finesse.

    The 2009- 2010 when Philly came back from being down 3-0 it was after Krecji was lost for the remainder of the playoffs. Krecji was 4 goals 4 assist in 9 games.

    In 2010 – 2011 Krecji had 12 goals 13 assist in 25gp during the Cup run making his the points winner in the cup run.

    In the 2012-2013 playoffs Krecji had 9 goals 17 assist 26pts in 22 games played and again lead all scores in the playoffs.

    Krecji been one of the constants during the Bruins success but you don’t hear much about him, because he isn’t flashy (can be) but he controls the game and slow down the pace, his game isn’t about speed, he’s a very intelligent player who can keep the puck on his stick and creates space and is an underrated passer.

    I believe the Bruins will resign Krecji on a two or three year deal worth 5 or 5.5 per based on 2 or 3 years.

    Boston doesn’t have a replacement for Krejci, Studnicka isn’t ready and Coyle appears to be best suited for 3rd line but looks like he should be a 2nd line C.

    If Krejci walks and no big deal made and no RNH then i would like Boston to go sign Adam Lowry in the offseason for 3rd line C, he is big, strong, excellent on faceoffs and strong defensively.

    Bergeron, Coyle, Lowry, Frederic would be the bruins 4 c’s

    Even if Krecji comes back i would like to see Boston go after Lowry.

    Bergeron Krecji Coyle Lowry for a couple of seasons would be nice.

    • Agree with all of that Caper, Krecji is totally underrated.
      Not a speed demon by any means, not sure if that is good or bad when he loses another step?

      I would prefer the B’s do a year at a time to see how it goes, but Krecji will get a 2 year deal elsewhere so not sure why he would do that.

    • Agree Caper but that was between 8 and 11 years ago I loved him when he was in his prime just not now unless very team friendly deal and two years max.

  7. The bruins as per the norm will do absolutely nothing!Sweeney is the king of inaction! How this fool ever got gm of the year is one of great mysteries of the game,

    • Rick, other then spouting; please provide some insight what is it you want him to do?

    • I hear that often about Sweeney, but he’s rebuilt the Bruins on the fly since taking over and has done an admiral job. His deadline deals have been debatable, Rick Nash deal was a good pickup but unfortunately got hurt soon after arriving and never fully recovered, ending his career. He brought in Cassidy. He sent some veterans packing at the right time. Unlike Chiarelli, who traded away Kessel, Seguin, and Blake Wheeler, he’s stuck with the kids. Seeing as the 18 yr old draft is often a crapshoot, had the Bruins drafted Conner and Barzal instead of Zboril and Senyshyn, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  8. If I’m the Habs and I really think this team, if performing, can go deep, I offer Chiarot + a top-8 protected 1st rounder for Eklholm and a 5th rounder. That feels like fair value (granted, I’m a Habs fan)

    $$ works, contract years work.

    Nashville gets a decent NHL dman + a high pick, Habs get that different dimension on the left side they so badly need.

    • So what’s the fallback if habs pick was top 8? Unprotected 1st the year after?

      • Yep, that was my thinking. It’s a risk, but probably not a big one. The thought is they’re very likely not bottom 8 this year, and Ekholm would improve them, thereby reducing that likelihood.

      • I think nash gets a better offer. That offer is fair if a rental. He got one more year left. It was a nice try though.

    • fair offer Paddy , if Poile countered with Edmundson and that pick vs. Chiarot would you go for it ?
      I like Chiarot’s game , he has a way of getting under the other teams skin and is going to be challenged a fair amount but he tends to take some bad penalties.

      • Great question, Fergy! I think so. I think Edmundson and Chiarot are a bit different (I like both, too) but more or less play the same game and are fairly interchangeable. This is part of the Habs’ problem on defense, IMO.

        If I’m MB, I’d still do that. You?

      • Paddy …. for Edmundson , probably not because he is signed thru 23-24 @3.5.

      • Fergy, very fair. I think I still would, but those additional contract years make a difference, for sure.

    • Great idea, Paddy ! Chiarot is only on the first pair “by default”, no one being able to assume the duty. Romanov or Norlinder might, in a couple of years, but, with Weber and Price aging, the future is now.
      With Weber-Petry-Ekholm protected in the summer, Romanov exempt, we’d be in business.
      Well worth losing Chiarot and a first.

      • Thanks, Patrick! I thought it made sense for both teams. Now… how do we get Poile & MB on the phone?? 🙂

  9. Rather than give Dale Weisse comments on Julien air, , my question is whether the Habs should go and sign Andre Tourigny (Ottawa 67’s) and Benoit Groulx (Syracuse Crunch) to coach in Laval and/or Montreal.

    It would give them a strong nucleus of coaches to handle the farm and the young Habs.

    We saw last year how a stint with Joel Bouchard helped the kids.

    They are the next generation of coaches and buries the language issue with competence

  10. If it would only take a high pick and a prospect from the Flyers I would do it in a second. Fletcher is too worried about the expansion draft IMO. If you put a big physical defensive d man who can skate on the talented yet young top 2 pairs, the Flyers have a good a shot as anyone to win the cup (assuming Hart gets it together).By not getting a quality veteran dman they are in the second tier of cup contenders.

  11. #46 coming back to the Bruins would be home team friendly deal….

    Agree that DeBrusk trade value is probably low at this point just maybe Oilers take him on because of the connections

  12. Based on age would and future off season needs

    to NSH: DeBrusk

    to BOS: Johansen ($1.25m retained)

    work for both clubs?