NHL Rumor Mill – February 8, 2021

by | Feb 8, 2021 | Rumors | 54 comments

A suggested swap of Jake Virtanen for Jake DeBrusk plus the latest on Sam Bennett and the Penguins search for a new general manager in today’s NHL rumor mill.


PITTSBURGH HOCKEY NOW: Jimmy Murphy reports a source last September told him the Boston Bruins had trade talks with the Vancouver Canucks regarding winger Jake Virtanen. Sources tell Murphy the Bruins remain interested as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Buffalo Sabres and New Jersey Devils. One source wondered if the Bruins would offer up winger Jake DeBrusk for Virtanen.

Boston Bruins winger Jake DeBrusk (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen’s done very little this season to improve his trade value. Those clubs linked to him might have some interest but I doubt any of them will offer up anything of any real value to the Canucks. They’ll also probably want the Canucks to pick up a portion of Virtanen’s $2.55 million annual average value.

DeBrusk might be available in the trade market but I doubt the Bruins would swap him for Virtanen. The Canucks, on the other hand, would probably do it in a heartbeat.

The Bruins winger has struggled with consistency and is having his difficulties this season with just one point in six games. However, he reached the 40-point plateau in his first two seasons and might’ve done so in 2019-20 if not for COVID-19 derailing the regular season. DeBrusk’s body of work is better than Virtanen’s.


CALGARY SUN: Wes Gilbertson reports Flames forward Sam Bennett stickhandled around questions about his trade request, preferring to leave that between his agent and Flames general manager Brad Treliving. However, he also didn’t deny the speculation, leading Gilbertson to conclude the 24-year-old Bennett wants out.

It’s been over a week since the report of Bennett’s request. Gilbertson feels Treliving is patiently awaiting the right offer.

Gilbertson mused over whether the Flames GM will want a player of similar skills and grit, “ideally in a right-hand package” or if they’re angling for a pick or prospect to shed Bennett’s salary in order to use the cap space for something else. He also wondered if Treliving could acquire an asset that could be protected in this summer’s expansion draft. Quarantine regulations are also a consideration if they ship Bennett to an American team.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There’s speculation the Flames and New York Rangers are discussing a move that would send Bennett to the Blueshirts, perhaps for disgruntled defenseman Tony DeAngelo. Sportsnet’s Eric Francis claimed the Flames weren’t interested in DeAngelo but the New York Post’s Larry Brooks claimed otherwise.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported Saturday the Pittsburgh Penguins search for a new general manager has been narrowed down to eight candidates. In addition to acting GM Patrik Allvin, they’ve also spoken with Kevin Weekes, John Fergson Jr. Michael Futa, Ron Hextall, Mark Hunter, Jason Karmanos and Chris MacFarland.

Friedman said the Penguins could add more candidates but they want to trim the list further and set up the next round of interviews with team owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle.


  1. Other than Hextall & Hunter that is a very unimpressive list for general manager candidates for my Pens … Kevin Weekes??? What, Pierre MacGuire wasn’t available to interview this time?

    And remember about two weeks ago when a Bruins fanboy here wanted to trade DeBrusk for Pierre-Luc Dubois??? wow

    • Weekes, unlike McGuire, is intelligent and well-spoken. The obvious concern is that he’s never yet held a hockey management job. I would choose either Hunter or Hextall.

      • Weekes, unlike McGuire, is also African-American.

        I’m certain the Pens organization does not want to be accused of excluding minorities from their GM search.

      • I think Hextall would be a great choice.

        I also would hope that Weekes is considered for an assistant GM position someday (if not with Pittsburgh then with another organization): He seems very well-spoken, articulate, intelligent and a student of the game. He would be an excellent protégé.

      • Hi DM

        I think Weekes will have a future as a GM, but he’ll need to be an assistant GM first

        Re African-American; just a quick edit to that. He was born and raised in Toronto.

      • 1. Hextall
        2. Weeks

        Kevin Weeks is in touch with today’s NHL and today’s players. In my humble opinion, he would make a great GM.
        I would personally choose Hextall first based on his body of work with the Kings and with what he was building in Philly before he was foolishly let go.
        Nothing wrong with giving Weeks a shot though. Everyone’s gotta start somewhere, and outside of Hextall and Hunter, the rest have had plenty of opportunities elsewhere with varied success. Time for some new blood and fresh eyes and ideas.

      • My bad on the “African-American” comment…I should have considered the likelihood that he was a Canadian.

        Also, please don’t take my comment to mean that I think Weekes does not have the aptitude or potential to be a GM in the NHL. That was not my point at all.
        My point was that he does lack the hockey management background of some of the other rumored front-runners. Given that, I do question if the Penguins interest is sincere or simply political. That was a common issue in Football and Baseball for a couple of decades.

      • Hi DM and ShoreOrrPark

        Weekes has a savvy hockey mind and I do think that someday he will be a GM

        However jumping straight to the GM chair without getting a feel for how to actually negotiate contracts and keep multiple relationship management circles (owners/GM; GM/Staff; GM/Pres; GM/Agents; GM/players; GM/media; GM/fans; GM/other GMs; GM/NHLPA; GM/Bettman and/or Dayley) simultaneously afloat; is too much

        First he needs to be an assistant GM

        GM is in his future; just not yet

    • Oh no Pengy. First Pierre and now JFJ. Wow. I can still remember Raycroft for Rask.

      • Hitting below the belt Yes Guy…. bringing back bad memories … Leafs coulda had Rask

        Was hoping for Hextall or Botterill

        Hextall or Hunter 👍👍

        Can’t be JFJ,

        Weeks doesn’t have the experience…. but I could see him as. GM down the road

        Tough work for any GM in Pitt now…. Sat’s game was sad

        The reality check is that anything can happen in playoffs… so reg season picture should beep on keeping ahead of Isles

        That said… rebuild (getting younger) is on the horizon

        Perhaps a move that is middle ground… gets younger but doesn’t necessarily give up on this year… can’t see Bruins biting but worth the call…

        DeBrusk/Lauzon for Zucker/Ruhweedel

        With balancing picks

        Then…. as Sabres only have 2LDs…. Pettersson for Staal

        Sid Guentz Rusty

        Gino Kappy McC

        *Staal DeBrusk Tanev

        Blueger *Sceviour Jankowski or Rodrigues

        Lauzon (at RHD… A leftie that plays both sides) and Matheson or Riikola at LHD

        *Not in long term plans

        ** Long term top pairing

        That creates 3 scoring lines and a stronger 4th line; and a much stronger D core

        includes moves geared towards eventual rebuild, but doesn’t give up on this year’s playoff hopes

      • That trade doesn’t work for me Pengy. I like Zuker, but I love Lauzon. I like Debrusk but what is a Ruhweedel?

      • Debrusk and Lauzon for Ruhweedel and Zucker?


      • Hi ShoreOrrPark and DM

        Re my proposed trade

        Not a chance this gets done

        It was just an attempt to show a “bridge” move (moves) that keep them “in it” this year but starts them moving towards the inevitable rebuild

        Transparency here…. was totally against the Zucker trade solely due to what they gave up for him (1st AND Addison)

        Add to that his play for this season… I thought he was just rusty or had a hand or wrist injury but his passing (giving/receiving) is STILL way off and still on Saturday his panicked dump up or out (when really not under pressure) continues.

        The result is the other team gets possession

        His 3 goals so far…. a gaping net goal that he almost missed entirely; a goal where he just had his stick on ice…. precision pass by PO-J and Zucker’s stick only held place as the tip of stick hit post and would go any further; and a third goal benefitting from opposition’s brutal mistakes

        Zucker like most Pens players are not playing up to anywhere close to their contract values

        Ruhweedel is Pens 14th best D-Man but somehow cosch loves him so he plays

    • Macfarland is a GREAT candidate. More so than Hextall or Others.

  2. Virtanen and who else for Debrusk?surely not one for one. Although Sweeney has made dumb trades before.

  3. I think what is really interesting is the bruins didn’t Rask they want another goalie I believe his name was Pogge or something along those lines. Toronto wouldn’t give him up and gave the Bruins Rask instead.

  4. No Virtanen for Debrusk trade please. Bruins need more than just Virtanen for that trade to happen.

  5. The Virtanen for DeBrusk trade rumor is just click bait for Haggs and Murphy. Niether are connected to any deep sources in my opinion No child would make that trade let alone an NHL GM. Maybe if they toss in their 1st rd pick …then maybe

    • Let s talk Boeser for Debrusk and one of the b s many young defensemen.Virtanen does nothing for me.A kase retread.

  6. I don’t see the big deal about DeBrusk. All scorers outside of the elite go through stretch’s without scoring. I’ll keep him and his 40 points. The whole team was off the first few games shaking off the rust of no real training camp or exhibition games. We don’t need any D the kids are coming along very nicely. Zboril has been awesome and is starting to make big plays. The only way I’m moving Jake is fir a bonafide power forward. Bruins are looking great and have no glaring need that needs to be plugged. Time will tell

    • I agree to some extent about Debrusk scorer are streaky but Debrusk totally disappears. for games at a time. Also agree with the young D. Really like Lauzon he is playing a more physical game this year more confidence.

    • Don’t need any D? Let’s not overrate the kids, it’s the regular season which is much easier then the Playoffs. Lauzon isn’t a top 4 guy, at least not yet (if ever) and surely doesn’t belong playing with McAvoy. They do need a top 4 DMan.

      • Not overrating just speaking on facts Lauzon was a second round pick and Zboril was a first both are coming along nicely as I said. There’s zero reason to make any moves on D at the moment and Grizz is back tomorrow. He’s been great outside of getting hurt.

    • Not sure we’re over rating them Wendy, I think most of us B fans realize where they are in their progression.
      Agree we only have 3 top 4 D, and only 2 with Grz out.
      But the reason Lauzon is playing with McAvoy is so he gets minutes playing with their best guy to mentor him, so he can become a top 4 D in the future. He is doing great on the PK and gets more TOI per game than any player on the PK. No different than Carlo when he got most of his rookie minutes with Z. Ditto McAvoy. Seemed to work out OK.

      Where do you suggest they play Lauzon, and if he isn’t playing with McAvoy who should?

  7. Big fat no to Lazy Virtanen. He hasn’t changed since his Hitler days.
    Great big yes to Sammy Bennett. He’s been misused in Calgary and would fit in Boston quite well.

    • Let s talk Boeser for Debrusk and one of Bruins young defensemen.Virtanen is another Kase and you know what he has done.

      • I don’t know if the Nucks would be willing to do that. Great idea all the same!

    • Not sure how Hitmen turned into Hitler, but color me embarrassed.
      I’m sorry Mr. And Mrs. Virtanen.

      • Thought that was a little harsh!
        But guessed auto correct.

      • For what it’s worth, that auto-correction caused me some embarrassment as well. Trying to hold in a laugh here in my cubicle and instead emitting a high-pitched squeal sound…always fun to get those looks from around the office.

    • The Bruins don’t need another Center.

      • They will if #46 leaves

      • It’s better to have Centers who can slide in on the wing than the other way around. Wagner is a natural center. Freddy is a natural center. It also helps when the Center is thrown from the dot come playoff time. Faceoff possession (offensive/defensive) is terribly underrated.
        I’d rather start with the puck than hunt it down.

  8. Hextall really he sat on his fat ass in Philly but even think he made one trade give me a break

  9. What would it cost for the Oilers to get Gibson out of ANA? Koskinen needs to go the other way.

    Asking for a friend.

    • Ray, would you mind changing Oilers to Bruins and Koskinen to say…….Rask or Halak?

      My friend really wants to see that happen.

    • ANA should be starting the rebuild any time now.
      If they didn’t have Gibson they could contend for bottom 3, especially next year and take a run at real shot at Shane Wright in 2022 draft.
      Would want picks, prospects in return?
      My guess is they would want our 2 best prospects Vaak and Beecher (not sure they are good enough) and a first.
      Oil may have more to offer.

  10. I think Debrusk’s upside is higher than the other Jake I wouldn’t do it. The bruins will eventually need help on the second line I think Ritchie will start to fizzle . And Kase couldn’t put the puck inside the goal posts at BMO Field.

  11. Any GM that trades for Virtanen should be fired immediately.

    Lazy, lazy, lazy.

    • ADA for Virtanen & Jordie Benn ??

  12. NO, it doesn’t make sense. Jimmy Murphy made this up! Trading a 1.5 WAR player for a .3 WAR player makes ZERO sense.

  13. I don’t understand why so many want Hextall. Why do GMs and coaches get recycled so much? I think Mark Hunter deserves a chance to run a NHL team. He’s had success at a lower level and understands the way the game is trending these days. He’d get my vote over the other guys.

  14. Lyle, something doesn’t make sense with Flames possibly kicking the tires on DeAngelo. Didn’t they fire their ex-coach Bill Peters for the same kind of issues that DeAngelo is associated with?

    • I put more stock into the local reporter’s view (Eric Francis).

  15. Move DeBrusk and pieces to the Oilers for RNH…

    • The pieces would be key Joe as DeBrusk isn’t close to getting it done if RNH is signed to an extension.
      If the Oil miss the playoffs again, and RNH decides he wants to give it a go somewhere else, the B’s would have the space to take a run at him as a UFA. The word here in EDM is RNH wants to stay, but until he is signed, he isn’t.

      Hope Jake gets it going again, he is an effective player when he his flying around and sticking his nose in.

  16. Being in a win-now mindset suggests the Penguins would seek a GM who has proved to be adept at Juggling and exchanging pieces, rather than one who has builder’s credentials.

    Additionally, hearsay and Penguins recent history suggest that their GM selection would be little more than an organizational mouthpiece, desperate enough to work for minimum wage for the position because he might never receive another offer.

    Hearsay is that Rutherford quit because ownership wouldn’t allow him to trade a certain player. History shows that the former GM fired two assistant coaches and hired two new ones before this season. The contract of the head coach was renewed just prior to that after some deliberation, prompting some to wonder whether the former GM wanted to retain him.

    Those contracts represent salary investments too great for an owner to ignore in a depressed financial environment, but they are certainly sufficient to cause an owner to ignore managerial input. A new GM would have to accept conditions that the old GM would not.

    Would these factors rule out Ron Hextall’s candidacy? Did they cause Drury and Mellanby to withdraw from consideration?

    • That is a fantastic set of questions to go along with some really thought provoking musings.
      I also believe that Burckle is a skin flint with regards to the Pens.
      How long before Sid and Geno are sold off for prospects and picks? He’s already kissed the cup, twice. Time to make good on his investment.

  17. What would the Oilers give in return for Carey Price?

    • They can’t afford him.

      I’d also pump the brakes on trading him away despite the fact that Allen is playing well. He did that in St. Louis until he was counted on to be numero uno, then he couldn’t stand up to the task. Best bet is to go with the solid tandem you haven’t seen since Roy and Hayward.

      • 2422,
        They can afford it if they trade 10m worth of cap.

        I’m not in a rush to trade one of te best goalies in the league, but Oilers are a Cup contender with him on the team.

        My question is what would they be willing to give for him. 🙂

      • Not much Habsfan.
        Still and good tender, but overpaid. By $3M or so and for too long. Would MTL eat $3M to facilitate?
        Oil should have chased Allen harder, especially when you look at what the extension was for. Hate to give Bergevin credit for anything, but looks pretty good right now.
        Solid 1A is exactky what EDM needs as Koskinen is over worked.
        I get that Barrie was signed to fill the hole made by Klefbom, but that $$ would have been better spent on Allen IMO.

  18. Virtanen was the number one bantam pick into the dub and 7 or whatever into he NHL multiple scouts can’t be wrong. However, Multiple coaches can’t be either .Should be better. Has to move but it won’t be for much.
    I doubt salary held .

  19. Bruins are fine they need to keep Jake and Kase they both have speed but also need to start producing. Krech needs to leave at years end and unless Rask takes a pay cut he can go to. Boston needs to sign maybe Hall and RNH if they both want to win and are tired of losing. Next years free agency will be fun to watch.