NHL Rumor Mill – February 3, 2021

by | Feb 3, 2021 | Rumors | 47 comments

The latest on Tony DeAngelo, Sam Bennett, Victor Mete, Travis Dermott, Vince Dunn and Brett Connolly in today’s NHL rumor mill.


TSN: Darren Dreger reports the New York Rangers have told Tony DeAngelo to wait at home as they work on trading the 25-year-old defenseman. Dreger said there’s “a ton of interest in him all of a sudden,” with a source claiming the blueliner could be moved within the next few days.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Rangers are willing to absorb part of DeAngelo’s annual salary-cap hit to facilitate a trade. Friedman believes it won’t be easy to move the blueliner as any acquiring team knows there will be heat.

The Blueshirts aren’t looking at terminating his contract as it would be unlikely to do so without the player’s agreement. If they decide to buy him out at season’s end it’ll be at one-third the remaining value as he doesn’t turn 26 until October.

NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks believes it might be in DeAngelo’s best interests to enter an anger management program before returning to play given his history of outbursts. He also believes the defenseman’s social media activity could also be a red flag for any organization looking at him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dreger’s report merely confirms my belief that there is always an NHL general manager somewhere willing to give players with maturity or personality issues a chance provided they have a talent that can address a roster weakness.

DeAngelo’s defensive game leaves much to be desired but his offensive skills make him valuable to a team lacking blueline production. The Rangers’ willingness to eat part of his $4.8 million AAV improves his trade value. Now it comes down to what the Blueshirts want in return and how much salary they’re willing to absorb to get this deal done.


Calgary Flames are in no rush to move Sam Bennett (NHL Images).

TSN: Dreger also reports the Calgary Flames aren’t in any rush to trade forward Sam Bennett after his agent surprised them over the weekend by saying his client would prefer a change of scenery. It has to be a deal that works for the Flames. General manager Brad Treliving is willing to hang onto him as a potentially impactful player for Calgary.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports Flames coach Geoff Ward dismissed any talk of Bennett being unhappy with his playing time. Ward indicated he spoke with Bennett before the start of the season to give him the choice of where he wanted to play in the lineup. He started at center and after a couple of games asked to be moved to the wing.

Friedman also expects the Flames to move cautiously on Bennett, in part because of his playoff performance. It’s also possible any frustration between player and organization could pass over time. The Flames have tested his value in the trade market but held onto him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Bennett still hasn’t spoken about his agent’s remarks while the official word from management and teammates is this won’t be a distraction. This could settle down over the course of the season but it could resurface if Bennett’s play suffers or the Flames struggle to stay in the playoff chase.


SPORTSNET: Friedman reports the Pittsburgh Penguins were among the clubs showing interest in Montreal Canadiens defenseman Victor Mete. He points out the Canadiens’ limited cap space means it would have to be a dollar-in, dollar-out deal but they do like Mete. He also added the Penguins were poking around Toronto for Maple Leafs blueliner Travis Dermott.

THE ATHLETIC: Thomas Drance looked at whether players such as Mete, Dermott, Bennett or St. Louis Blues defenseman Victor Dunn might make sense as trade targets for the struggling Vancouver Canucks.

Drance doesn’t believe Bennett would resolve the Canucks’ long-term need for an established third-line center. He feels Mete would be a poor fit because the Canucks have a surplus of puck-moving left-shot defensemen.

The Blues’ asking price for Dunn (first-round pick) is expensive plus he couldn’t join the Canucks until after a two-week quarantine period due to Canadian border restrictions. Dermott might not be an ideal fit but he’d be more reasonably priced than Dunn and would join the team more quickly.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Drance offers up a more detailed analysis than my synopsis but I concur with his take. There really isn’t much available that would provide an immediate, affordable improvement to the Canucks’ roster. That doesn’t mean management won’t stop looking but the pickings appear slim right now.

Regarding Dermott, Drance’s colleague Jame Mirtle feels the Leafs will handle the blueliner the same way the Canadiens are handling Mete. They’re leery of moving him because they want to ensure they have sufficient depth over the course of the season. Dermott also won’t fetch a return that provides a swift upgrade to the lineup.


Friedman suggests keeping an eye on Florida Panthers winger Brett Connolly, who was a healthy scratch in their last two games. He speculates a contender could show interest in the 28-year-old.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly shows Connolly is in the second year of a four-year deal with an annual average value of $3.5 million. Teams could be reluctant to take on that cap hit given how tight payrolls are this season.


  1. Tony DeAngelo certainly seems to have an anger issue as well as social values that affect his teammates. Perhaps a change of position from right D to right wing would be appropriate.

    • Well I don’t think Tony wants to be a left wing. Sorry could not resist.

      • Ha!

    • Boooo

    • Too bad the Oakland Raiders can’t use Hockey Players

  2. Pens are better off standing pat for now and treading water instead being in on Mete or Dunn … Mete is underwhelming and there is no way I would give up a first for Dunn … sooner or later the Pens will have to hang on to their first rounders …

    • ed vanimpe,
      Mete and Dunn would both be starters and upgrades to the Pens D.

      It isn’t that they are better off standing pat they are cap strapped and unable to deal

    • Cousin Eddie,

      Vince Dunn = hot, Hot, HOT!!!


  3. The buyout cost to the Rangers if they buy out DeAngelo is minimal, as he’s under 26 years old. Unless they can trade him without retaining salary or unless they receive a strong return, neither of which are likely to happen, they may be better off letting him stay home and then buying him out after the season.

    • Howard. Not moving DeAngelo would cost the Rangers actual dollars. He would receive his full salary this season of 4.3 million and Buying out remainder of contract will cost another 1.7 million. That’s a total of 6 million to not play and not getting any immediate help on roster. They’d save a little over a million in cap space this year and over 4M next year. Retaining the max of 50% in a trade will cost less in actual dollars while not adding an extra year of dead cap. The fact that his agent is involved, I’m guessing that both sides are hoping he plays somewhere this season. Names mentioned in today’s rumors like Dunn and Bennett would both fill needs. Chytil, Smith, and JJ all currently injured.

      • The Rangers don’t care about such a paltry amount of money. To quote Forrest Gump; “They’ve got more money than Davey Crockett.”
        I said weeks ago that young fella needed to mature and drop the attitude and stupid social media horsechit. I sincerely don’t expect the Rags to get much of a return for him, but Gorton is pretty friggin good at his job, so you never know. I figure it will be more along the lines of addition by subtraction.
        The kids no good. The player is half decent.

      • Slick, the Rangers can well afford the extra dollars – even in this climate. That would be much more preferable to them than retaining over $2m. In dead cap space for next year. Even with DeAngelo on the roster, they have more than enough cap space this year in the event they choose to add a player via trade, which given the current state of the team, I see as unlikely.
        A buyout after this season would leave them with a paltry $333,333 in dead space next year and a slightly higher but still small hit of $833,333 the following year. I see that as preferable to one year of over $2m. In dead space. Now, if they can get a return of Dunn or Bennett, neither of which I see as likely, or another decent player, it may well be worthwhile.

      • Shoreorrpark and Howard. Yes, Rangers owner has deep pockets but, still think they’ll be able to make a deal. Especially if what Dreger is saying is true.

    • Sounds about right SOP.
      While the Rangers would prefer to contend this year, their youth, all over the lineup, means they will have some ups and downs and likely won’t.
      These guys still need to learn to play the right way, and that includes being a good team mate and playing within the structure.
      From the outside DeAngelo didn’t seem to be pulling in the same direction.

      My point is, Gorton understands this and is in no hurry unless he gets a return that makes sense.
      I really have no idea what he is worth. A decent pick or prospect should do it IMO. Dead salary back? I think he passes unless it is just for this season.

      1 step back 2 forward IMO.

      • Yep. I feel the same way, Ray. Too many youngsters on that squad and as they say; one bad apple ruins the whole bunch. Or at at least has the potential too. Impressionable kids need positive role models and peers to grow with, and around. Good on Gorton for sticking to his word. That will speak volumes in that room.

        Perhaps Florida is willing to ship Connelly to the NYR for ADA.

      • The player exchange seem fair SOP, but I think Quenneville is trying to get those boys to pull together as well down in Florida.
        Don’t be a good team mate and don’t play in the structure, you won’t play there. Because you can’t win if you don’t.
        Hence some of the moves that seemed one sided in terms of offensive production stats this past off season.
        I dunno, some people change, some don’t. This situation should inspire a look in the mirror and perhaps he matures. Maybe he doesn’t.

  4. If this is true great for the Rangers
    “Dreger said there’s “a ton of interest in him all of a sudden,”

    but which teams either have cap space or a contract they want to move? I guess teams that trade for him can do the summer buyout themselves if it does not work out?
    Any contender is not adding a potential issue or distraction to the dressing room

    • Erickson for deangelo. Straight trade.

      • No. Maybe Sutter?

      • I’d do Sutter

        But its another team that needs D not a QB

        Team that could use TonyD=Ottawa, Detroit, Pitts,Anaheim

        Any team can buy him out this summer too…so if they get a sweetener to make the deal they might…. but the Rangers can let him sit

      • Sutter ufa after this year. 2year contract for Erickson for two year contract of deangelo. It’s about as fair as fair could be.

      • @Chrisms
        Rangers better off letting Tony sit than paying Erickson next season

  5. Brooks needs to enter a stupidity management program.

    • He pretends to be a reporter, but is actually on the Ranger’s publicity team….

    • Brooks is already the founding Dean at Stupid U.

  6. DeAngelo has a great agent (Brisson) who he unfortunately doesn’t listen to.

    If there’s anybody who can pull something off, he’s the agent for it.

    At this point NYR would be happy to get anything for him, retaining half his salary for a late round draft pick.

    Ottawa for example could use him under those conditions.

    • Seems Ottawa needs a lot of help.
      Would it be safe to say the coach will be under a lot of pressure. They play a very weak defensive game which is always coaching

  7. So yesterday not a single team wanted Deangelo when they could have picked him up for free and today theres a lineup of teams willing to trade assets for him?

    Sounds like a bunch of “insiders” with nothing on the “inside” to write about so they create some drivel and tripe for the masses to consume.

    • You are probably right, but there is the issue of cap hit. I don’t think anyone thought he would get picked up on waivers and have another team assume his entire cap hit.
      Flipping a draft pick to NYR in exchange for them picking up a considerable chunk of that cap hit is a different story. It seems likely there would at least be more interest in that second scenario (though who knows how much interest really?). If I were a GM I quickly hang up the phone on the first scenario, on the second one I at least say “Thanks, but no” before hanging up.

      • I don’t think it’s being discussed enough that NYR is willing to take a contract back for ADA. There are teams who would try to unload a bad contract for him, send ADA to minors for the year then buy him out at next to nothing on the dead cap hit.

  8. Re ADA

    Dreger ““a ton of interest in him all of a sudden,”

    That’s a subjective statement and could be interpreted many ways…. many many interest calls by 2 or 3 teams; an inquisitory text by several GMs; loads of talk by journalists ; etc etc

    I’d be stretched to believe that there are more than maybe 4 teams that truly had interest and opportunity (space) in actually acquiring ADA

    To me… risky move in a shortened season…. has talent but carrying the baggage that may or may not ebb… not worth the risk IMHO

    No one is taking him w/o some retention; and I would hazard to guess that the MINIMUM acceptable retention by a receiving team is 25%

    If they retain… it’s only Cap that Rangers concern themselves with. They , like Leafs, are cash rich. Retention $’s actually paid is effectively a “rounding error correction” in their budgets

    Cap to Rangers this year… not an issue

    So… trade at Min 25% retained , is minimum of $1.2 M dead Cap next year…. the return for ADA at 25% retained?? A late 2nd ?

    It appears from reports now that Rangers cannot unilaterally terminate him until the buyout window

    Buyout as many of you have reported above…. $0.4 M followed by $0.9 M …. vs a minimum trade retention of $1.2 M next year (using min 25% retention in trade) and at best getting a late 2nd

    If that was the choice; to me; better to have him sit at home and then buy him out when the window opens

    If there is a team out there that truly believes ADAs baggage is behind him; and that he would fit in well with their plans….. 50% retained…. does that return an “A” prospect?

    Under no circumstances should Panthers consider taking him on… things are gelling; they are 11 of a possible 12 points

    No top end team should consider the move as the risk of potential disruption is high

    Any rebuilding teams certainly don’t need the risk of the headache and would need to give up youth (“A” prospect) in trade

    That leaves (1) bubble teams…. not many have the space and willing to take the risk and have viable A prospect they would be willing to trade; or (2) teams willing/wanting to trade a garbage contract (and would Rangers accept garbage back?)

    So “a ton of interest” to me , should be viewed with objectivity and suspicion

    Pens under no circumstance should call Gorton . Zero circumstances. Even CR for ADA at 50% retained is not worth the potential disruption

    • Pengy, what if NY adds JJ?
      Any team taking a chance on DeAngelo will get him at a bargain price. Most likely kid will realize he’s on probation and maybe makes it through season without incident. Said team can always buy him out in off season if they choose. Really isn’t as risky as many believe. Risk/reward should be worth it.

      • Oh Slick…. offering JJ…. that’s hitting below the belt …. the Horror

        Re “ Most likely kid will realize he’s on probation and maybe makes it through season without incident. ”

        I am not as confident as you with “most likely” ; and as you have put … “maybe” makes it through

        There is absolutely no question that he would be highly trade-able even at his Cap to current on-ice numbers…. on-ice performance can be coached to improve; IF he didn’t have the personal baggage

        The risk is how he behaves and therefore the risk of affecting receiving team’s chemistry/performance.

        To me , that risk pared with his “potential” return to performance ; just is a gamble I would not be willing to take if I’m a top end team or re-building team

        Some team MAY take the risk, and he MAY behave and he MAY put out good numbers… that trade will look great at the end of the season

        For me ….. the “MAYs” are cumulative…. and the probability of having a good return (long term) in acquiring him; is low

        There are GMs that could make the move. I wouldn’t at anything but 50 retained for a low return in trade

        The down risk is the small buyout in cash/cap… at 50% retained… then at buyout window…. ~$0.9 M in cash; just shy of $0.2 M next year followed by just over $0.4 M , in Cap , in two years

        That risk ….. to me…. on a Bubble team….return…. low 2nd

        Time will tell

        Ready to eat crow if a “pricey “ return in trade is given up; or if he immediately rights his performance (on and off the ice) ship

        Time will tell

        No on Pens

        No on Leafs


    • Lyle, there may always be a GM willing to give it a go but cancel culture has begun to make that not likely see the Coyotes draft pick this year for reference.

      • What’s with the cancel culture obsession AZ?

    • I agree with almost all of that, Pengy.
      I’m of the opinion that the kid needs to play on a team with a heavy veteran presence in order to keep his attitude in check. Teams like Washington, Boston, SJ, Minnesota and even Anaheim to name a few. The $ in and out would have to work of course, but nothing is impossible.
      Match him with a mentor who can help correct/erase his defensive, and off ice shortcomings and the youngster could be salvageable if not a complete win.

      • Is Dustin Byfuglien coming out of retirement?

      • Haha! That’s the perfect example of what I was referring to. Maybe even Weber or Suter or Chara or Seabrook.

      • Hi ShoreOrrPark

        More vets for sure would give a team a better chance at turning him around

        Not guaranteed but a good idea

        Not sure Caps or Bruins would do it

        Perhaps Ducks or Sharks

  9. The Flames are big on character. Unless they get a prize they can’t pass on such as Chytl or Howden , I believe they are out in regards to landing “from the angels”.

  10. Is everyone else already sick of the Canadian Division? It’s a joke.

    Ottawa is an automatic 2 points.
    Calgary and Vancouver stink.
    Edmonton is Edmonton, again
    Winnipeg is a middle of the pack team.
    TO and Montreal are running away because the competition stinks.

    Not one of these teams could compete in the Eastern Division if they had to play that schedule.

    What a joke!

    • Even giving Toronto and Montreal two additional wins to even out games played, that’s an 8 point gap between first and fifth.

      Giving the same ‘all wins’ to the leaders in other divisions where GP aren’t even results in gaps of 5 in the East, 9 in the Central and 7 in the West.

      Personal opinion is aside from agreeing with you that Ottawa is objectively terrible, no one is running away with this division more than any other.

      It’s only 1/5 over. Roughly.

    • Nope nevinsrip, it’s great.
      Natural rivalries.
      The NHL won’t keep it this way due to the excess travel, but I wish they would.
      You have no idea if they could compete in the east as they don’t play each other but I would bet that both MTL and TOR would do just fine if the alignment was the same as last year and they were in the Atlantic. Although FLA would appear to be better this year as well.
      And if it was still the Pacific Division I would still place a wager on VCR, EDM & Cgy making the playoffs again. Like last year.
      I would argue that the current bottom 5 teams in the East would be in tough to make it in the North Division. East is better at the top, but only 3 good teams IMO.

      • Ray, I would agree IF the league allowed all games in the North division to be watched by hockey fans across Canada. Local blackouts have taken away a lot of the buzz.
        I would love to watch the western teams play each other but, no, we can’t have that so I watch NBA games instead. It’s brutal.

      • Really, I get em all.
        SNet coast to coast.

  11. If it was last year’s alignment I say 6 out of 7 CAD teams make it. Not a fan but Montreal has a shot. McDavid and Draisaitl led the league last year . Staying healthy or least healthy at the right time is as important as ever for all teams.

    • Agree Silver7.
      That is why OTT may finish with a worse record that DET this year.
      Last year DET was historically bad and didn’t really do much to improve other than the young guys improving.
      DET gets NSH and CHI regularly. And while FLA has a good record so far, 4 of their 6 games have been DET and CHI. We’ll see how they do long term.
      OTT doesn’t get a night off as the remaining 6 would be considered legit playoff contenders.
      In the long run not a terrible thing as the odds of a great pick go up, but getting smoked every night doesn’t build much confidence for the young guys.