NHL Rumor Mill – February 26, 2021

by | Feb 26, 2021 | Rumors | 16 comments

The latest on Filip Forsberg plus the latest on the Canucks and Kings in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s recent reports indicating there are only three untouchables (Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne) on the Nashville Predators. While he didn’t say they’re dangling Filip Forsberg the wording of his report suggests they wouldn’t immediately dismiss offers for the 26-year-old winger

Nashville Predators winger Filip Forsberg (NHL Images).

Forsberg is a scorer in his prime who’s a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility. If they shop him, Vingan speculated he could fetch something comparable to what the Ottawa Senators received from the Vegas Golden Knights at the March 2019 trade deadline for Mark Stone. As part of the return, the Sens got highly-touted defense prospect Erik Brannstrom and a second-round pick.

Vingan speculates it could cost the Predators between $7.5 million and $8 million annually to sign Forsberg to a contract extension. They could attempt to clear cap space by trading Ryan Johansen or Matt Duchene but moving their respective $8 million annual salary-cap hits will be difficult.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Predators could listen to offers for Forsberg but I doubt they’ll get anything to their liking at this year’s trade deadline, especially with so many teams capped out because of the effects of COVID-19 upon this season’s salary cap. They could get better offers in the offseason when teams have more cap space to work with and a willingness to make a big move for someone like Forsberg.

I think the Predators prefer keeping Forsberg. He’s their best forward and the only one who consistently produces. If he’s willing to stick around as the Predators rebuild they should try to free up sufficient cap space to keep him. Ditching Johansen or Duchene would go a long way toward that goal but their poor performance and high cap hits hurt their trade value.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports Vancouver Canucks general manager Jim Benning has been working the phones of late seeking a top-nine under-25 forward who can fit with his young core.

THE ATHLETIC: Harman Dayal and Thomas Drance cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman saying he’d heard Vancouver Canucks winger Jake Virtanen was linked to the Anaheim Ducks but the second year of his deal is a bit of an issue. The Canucks have little to lose at this point by occasionally giving Virtanen top-six minutes to try to bolster his trade value.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Benning could be dangling Virtanen or Adam Gaudette in hopes of bringing in that young forward but I doubt either guy can fetch that return. He could try bundling them into a package deal but that probably won’t draw much interest. Virtanen’s annual average value is $2.55 million while Gaudette ($950K) is a restricted free agent this summer.

Darren Dreger reports Los Angeles King GM Rob Blake seeks a dynamic left-shot defenseman who is 25-or-younger. The Kings have an abundance of forwards. Dreger believes if a deal could be found similar to the Seth Jones for Ryan Johansen swap a few years ago between the Columbus Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators that Blake would be all over it.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Finding that type of deal could be difficult during this unusual season but not impossible. We already saw a notable trade last month where the Jackets shipped Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

Still, I don’t think Blake is in a rush to make that move during this season. If he can’t find what he seeks now he can wait until the offseason to do it.


  1. In the current climate, with the static cap not going to be changed any time soon, it will be damned near impossible to trade Johansen or Duchene. Mind you, if some team decides it’s time to drop down into high draft pick range, they couldn’t go wrong by taking on Duchene!

    • lmao George best comment I have read in weeks because it is so true .

    • With Rask and Krejci up at season end would Bos offer Moore and late round pick for Johansen with 1 retained?

      Perhaps even a high pick, solid prospect along with Debrusk and add in Filip Forsberg on a side trade

      • Moore is worthless and not in the same conversation as Johansen. How did the B”s even obtain Moore? Drafted by Columbus, traded since 3 times. Should have been a regular this year with Chara and Krug gone and the injuries. Not even as a throw in thanks. No even for Virtanen

    • Agreed. “The Curse” continues his legacy!

  2. If CBJ continues their inconsistency and drifts out of playoff contention they could be sellers at this year’s deadline w/ an offseason retool. It could mean UFAs Savard & Foligno (if he is interested in the opportunity to chase a Cup) could be available. Certainly not stars but solid deadline rentals that can elevate top contenders. With regard to the offseason, Jarmo did well to navigate the Laine & Roslovic return in the Dubois trade but it once again has exposed how thin they are at C. They will be looking to move Korpisalo and/or Elvis and need to re-sign Jones and/or move him if he will not commit long term. The whispers that Torts is retiring are now more like rumbles. So my questions are: 1) with Torts gone do they revisit Johansen or Duchene w/ reasonable NSH retention (unlikely but still a thought); 2) If Jones re-signs do they consider moving Werenski to fill the gaping hole at C? (though I am sure they are not keen on moving him); 3) If Jones pulls a Panarin then they have to move him for a king’s ransom of futures and reboot. Lot’s of nervous fans in CBus…Jarmo has an interesting deadline and offseason approaching.

  3. “is seeking a player who is 25-or-younger”

    I am not so sure that means still developing, or polished, but I am certain it means “has a Cap hit the team can keep lower long enough to extract a year or so without overpaying for potential.

  4. A few random pennies for my thoughts:

    1- Covid, flat cap and no chance in hades of cap going up any time soon without fans means all these inflated salaries to figure skaters like Duchene or aging players like Krejki will follow the same direction as Dion Phaneuf….gone. Unless of course they are willing to take significant pay cuts.

    2- Torts is not going to retire.

    3- With the two week covid quarantine, we’re likely going to see Canadian teams deal a lot sooner than the deadline. That and a two week wait in a shortened season is either going to lower the market value of players

    • Good point about the quarantine requirements and, so, potential earlier deals by the Canada-based teams, Frank.

    • Frank, on Torts retiring, just sharing what is being reported here in CBus. There were whispers he considered retiring in the offseason. We’ll see if those reporting are correct or not.

  5. Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette have zero trade value, none. Best Bungling Jimmy can hope for is a garbage for trash trade.

    No cap room to use, roster filled with bottom feeders (Beagle, Roussel, Sutter, Eriksson) and Dim Jim still needs to find the dollars to resign Pettersson and Hughes to new contracts.

    The Canucks are a mess and the majority of the blame falls on Benning.

    The sooner Aqualini wakes up and cans Benning and Green the better off the Canucks will be. I mean, their replacements couldnt possibly do any worse.

    • Ron, what will the Nucks do if Aqualini is the problem?
      My understanding of why Linden left was a disagreement on the direction of the team. He wanted to stick with the slower approach and continue to draft and develop for a while longer before adding vets to compliment the core.

      Aqualini wanted to get it going right away, perhaps for revenue reasons. Fair enough, but when you look at VCR’s roster, you see a bunch of older guys added to the roster making $$ and not producing.

      If it was all Dim Jim’s idea, OK, but there is a good chance he was simply following orders from the boss.

      Can’t fire the owner, and best of luck to the new guy.

      • I agree with you Ray Bark, from listening to Doug McLean on the real kipper podcast he said Aqualini is one of the more hands on owners.

  6. Rangers need young Center prospects and have an abundance of LD. Even if they’re hoping to have a shot at Eichel, I’d love to know which centers are being dangled. I doubt Byfeld. Kings D prospects: Villardi, Kupari, Turcotte, Madden, Thomas.
    Rangers LD under 25. Miller, Lindgren. Hajek, Robertson, Zac Jones, Reunanen.
    A lot to work with there.
    On Virtanen and Haidette garbage for trash: Hello Tony DeAngelo.

    • Sorry. Should read “Kings C prospects”

  7. Could Butcher be the left m-D to fit the Kings Bill? Devils have young depth down the middle but Zajac is near the end so definitely scope to add another young, cheap C with upside.