NHL Rumor Mill – February 9, 2021

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Rumors | 43 comments

Updates on Sam Bennett, Tony DeAngelo and Jake Virtanen in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Luke Fox recently wondered if Calgary Flames forward Sam Bennett would be a good fit with the Toronto Maple Leafs. He noted Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas reportedly expressed some level of interest.

Despite Bennett’s sluggish start, Fox listed his strong postseason play, the lack of a cross-border quarantine, and his RFA status this summer among the upside. The downside would be Bennett’s $2.55 million cap hit for this season, the Flames’ preference for a roster player in return and their wariness of dealing within the division.

Fox had heard defenseman Travis Dermott mentioned but doesn’t like that option, pointing to the Leafs still aren’t comfortable with Mikko Lehtonen and the need to maintain blueline depth with injuries inevitable. He wondered if the Flames might take a chance on Pierre Engvall.

Eric Francis subsequently reported the Flames have moved Bennett to skating along with Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan. The move gave hope to Flames fans that his trade request can be ignored or rescinded. Francis said the team has no desire or imminent plans to part with its annual playoff MVP.

Francis points out Bennett’s trade request hasn’t caused a rift among his teammates as they understand his wishes to play a more prominent role. If he plays well with Gaudreau and Monahan, the club’s goal of retaining him until the summer can be met.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s up to Bennett how this plays out. There’s undoubtedly some interest in him in the trade market and it wouldn’t be surprising if the Leafs are among the suitors. However, his inconsistent play this season combined with limited cap space and difficulty trading with American-based clubs because of border restrictions brought on by COVID-19 makes finding a suitable return difficult to come by.

New York Rangers defenseman Tony DeAngelo (NHL Images).


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks reports the Rangers’ efforts to move Tony DeAngelo have stalled. While there have been some discussions, the trade market for the 25-year-old defenseman has dried up over concerns of fan backlash.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Brooks had reported the Flames were interested in DeAngelo. That gave rise to a possible swap for Bennett but that doesn’t appear likely now.

DeAngelo has considerable offensive skills but his well-documented personal baggage has obviously become a factor. Nevertheless, there could be a GM willing to take a chance on him at some point in this season.


SPORTSNET: Iain MacIntyre reports the Vancouver Canucks have placed winger Jake Virtanen on the trade block. However, the club’s current losing skid leaves GM Jim Benning dealing not from a position of strength but one of necessity as he tries to shake up his struggling roster. He also points out Adam Gaudette is being shopped. Both forwards were healthy scratches during Saturday’s game against the Leafs.

MacIntyre cited colleague Elliotte Friedman reporting the Boston Bruins were among the clubs with an interest in Virtanen. However, he doubts the Canucks will get back a prime asset in the middle of a pandemic with the Canada-US border close and most teams capped out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Virtanen and Gaudette were both back in the lineup for last night’s game against the Leafs but did nothing to improve their trade value or improve the Canucks’ performance. Even without the restrictions imposed upon this season by COVID-19, I doubt Benning would get anything worthwhile for either guy that would make an immediate positive impression on his roster.


  1. For the hundredth time, no team will pick up a risky player like DeAngelo unless the Rangers pick up half his salary, which they are not inclined to do unless a valuable piece goes back in return, which other teams would be reluctant to do. And that’s putting aside the fact that few teams have the cap space to trade for him now. The Rangers will probably have no choice but to buy him out at seasons end.

  2. Any team trying to land Bennett had better come forward with a sensible offer. Pierre Engvall, Travis Dermott and the like just won’t get it done.
    Ottawa and Montreal could probably get it done if Tre is insistent on dealing within division. If not, what about Bennett for Mantha?

    • Bennet has shown in 374 games that he’s a 3rd line player. Best season was 36 pts and he’s been a minus his whole career.

      Just because Calgary picked him too high doesn’t make him worth a king’s ransom. There are several players picked after Bennett in the draft that have far outperformed him.

      • Jake Virtanen has played 291 games and his best season was also 36 points yet Bennet’s viewed as being worth far more than Virtanen. Neither have lived up to the hype of being a top 10 draft pick.

    • Make no sense for Detroit. Mantha has played 100 less games and has 50 more points.

      Mantha has also scored 24 more goals in his career with 4 seasons with more than 15 goals and 2 seasons with more than 20. Bennett has 1 season with more than 15 and that was years ago.

      Bennett in theory has minimal trade value. Slightly more than pulijaarvi did in Edmonton. You take what you are given or you keep him and hold out like Tampa did with Drouin.

      If you can get Dermott and a pick you do that trade all day long or if you can get Kerfoot.

    • I don’t think Bennett has that much trade value. He won’t bring a top 6 forward, or a top 4 defenseman, a starting goalie, or a first, second, or third round draft choice, unless Tre adds to the pot. Bennett for Mantha isn’t realistic.

    • Hi ShoreOrrPark

      I really can’t see a Mantha/Bennett swap

      Mantha, IMHO, has a huge upside

      I would not be surprised to see GMMB make an off-season move for Mantha

      His Cap hit is only $900 K more than Tater-Tots; Habs will lose a player to Seattle anyway; Habs are sitting with 14 picks in this upcoming draft (including 6 in the first 3 rounds; 9 in the first 4 rounds) and Caulfield and Poehling as trade chips

      GMMB has certainly been “on his game” as of late

    • With regards to Sam Bennett, it’s awfully hard to soar like an eagle when one is surrounded by turkey’s. His linemates have been a dog’s breakfast, with the rare exceptions of 3 or 4 games with Johnny or Chucky. He mostly plsyes 3rd line minutes behind Monahan and Backlund and his linemates have been the likes of a broken Kris Versteeg, James Neal, Matt Stajan, Josh Jooris and Lance Bouma.
      Mantha is most definitely a poor trade mate, but he gets to play with Larkin, Bert, AA and Nyquist. Huge difference there. Sam has been almost always been deployed as a shutdown center facing far tougher assignments than Mantha.
      Again, a poor comparison by me, but Bennett is far better than his stat line has shown. I’d take him in a heartbeat. The boy has a mix of skill and compete, and that’s hard to measure stuck on a third line checking role.

      • ShoreOrrPark

        Just love your line

        “ hard to soar like an eagle when one is surrounded by turkey’s”


        Is that yours or is that a borrowed quote?

      • That is a stolen quote, Pengy. Not sure where I heard or read it, but it fits the narrative.

      • Well it’s a good quote 👍

      • And as you said

        Fits the narrative

    • Delusional. Mantha? A power forward who can score that has a huge frame for a guy who cant score at all but can hit. If I am the leafs I am offering Kerfoot & Vesey

      • And you’d get hung up on pretty quickly.
        Like I posted above, Mantha is a poor example, but Toronto doesn’t have the assets to acquire Bennett either. Again, maybe the Habs or Sens.

        Why did Bashill not dress Mantha? Honeymoon might be over there.

    • “If not, what about Bennett for Mantha?”

      Depends how many first rounders are also going Detroit’s way.

  3. Jake Virtanen has zero, absolutely zero trade value. Benning created the mess in Vancouver and he and Green will ultimately pay the price for it.

    Instead of sitting out the nobodies Green needs to sit one of his creampuff so called stars.

    Id start with Hughes, Mr Powerplay has 17 pts but is -13. Zero defensive responsibility.

    Sit a “star”, sens a message. Vigneault benched Konecny in Philly. Torts benched Laine in Columbus. Why the do nothing response in Nuckville?

    • Hi Ron

      Going on your “ Jake Virtanen has zero, absolutely zero trade value. ”

      I contend

      “ Chad Ruhweedel has zero, absolutely zero trade value. ”

      I’m very good at math

      So the deal is JV for CR….. ‘Nucks free up $1.85 M

      Gedderdone !

    • Bench Hughes? I don’t think so.

  4. Hey Benning trade JT to the Bruins you can have DeBrusk back

  5. Benning has assembled a pretty good team in Vancouver but they won’t work for Travis Green.

    Trading Virtanen won’t bring anything of value to the team but a change could only help him.

    Why isn’t Gerard Gallant being looked at to coach this team? He sets the kind of systems that Canuck players should thrive in.

    • Come on, habfan30. You must have seen the Canucks play the Habs at least. They have a handful of good players and the depth and quality falls off precipitously after that.

      Benning’s poor trades andpoor cap management meant they had to let Markstrom and Toffoli go, and why Gaudette, Rousell, Beagle and Virtanen are in the line up. They are a lousy team and that’s not Green’s fault.

      Their prized D Hughes is – 13, including a – 9 in the last 5 games. Supposed stud Pettersson scores only on the power play. A list of their weaknesses would take more time to list than I have to give it.

      • LJ,
        I saw the habs manhandle the Canucks, but they are much better than that,

        Supposed stud Pettersson is a stud.
        Schmidt is an upgrade on Tanev.
        Holtby is a downgrade but serviceable.
        Toffoli…..I’m happy he’s a Hab 🙂

        The entire team is under-performing, not just one player

        The Canucks seem lifeless, coach has lost the room in my opinion.

    • Last season the Canucks had a weak defence that needed Markstrom to bail them out nightly. They lose Chris Tanev and Troy Stecher and replaced by Schmidt. Which helps their top pairing, but leaves their 2nd and 3rd pairings weaker than last season.
      Demko did show well in the few games he played in, in the playoffs, but in the regular season he only had a .905 save percentage. To ask him to replace Markstrom was a huge ask. Then to bring in a goalie who has struggled the last few season who played behind a strong defence in Washington and expected him to return to form behind a weak defence isn’t the recipe to build a good team IMO.

  6. Boston could trade Debrusk to Edmonton for JP or to Calgary for Bennett; the Bruins may have to eat a few dollars to make the deal work.

    • Never thought about about DeBrusk for JP Caper. That is an interesting idea.
      Not sure Edmonton would do that with the way JP has played so far, kind of playing like DeBrusk used to, except bigger and faster, but fewer goals so far (I think they will come).

      This is one of the few trade scenarios where I don’t know which side to take. Plenty of risk on both sides.

      If forced I take JP over DeBrusk moving forward.

    • He is definitely more of a Bruins type player then Debrusk.

    • Last season I would have jumped all over that DeBrusk for Puljujarvi trade. Right now seeing how Puljujarvi is starting to show some chemistry with McDavid I’m quite hesitant.
      I still don’t think Bennett will be enough to get DeBrusk. Last season’s 35 was DeBrusk’s lowest in his career, and it was a shortened season. The most points Bennett has in one season was 36 and that was his first full season in the NHL.
      I really don’t think the Flames have what the Bruins need for them to be trade partners.

  7. Lyle have you heard from George O I miss his insight in to the hockey. I hope everything is ok with him thanks

    • 2nd that request Robo

      I too, miss George’s posts

      Really hoping that he is just taking time off from here and that there is no health issues for him and/or his fam

      • I do hope the ol bugger ain’t now posting to the great hockey board in the sky.

    • Yes, George is missed by all, that’s for sure .

      • Haven’t heard anything from George in a while.

  8. Per Lebrun

    “ All signs point to Ron Hextall being the front-runner right now to land the Penguins GM job, according to sources. But the Pens are still talking to other people. Next 2-3 days should be pivotal on that front.”

    I’m ok with that… need someone in their soon. I think he’d do a pretty dang good job. Waaay better than Jimbo

    His dad was a Penguin

    Does his cousin Leah come over and work with the broadcast crew?

    • Now from TSN

      “ According to TSN Senior Hockey Reporter Frank Seravalli, the former Flyers general manager – who also played 11 seasons in goal for Philadelphia – has been offered the job as the Pittsburgh Penguins’ general manager.”

      Oki Doki Ron …. get something done …. Pens flailing and falling

      • Oficial

        Hextall GM

        But out of the f the Blue… Burke … Pres of hockey ops…. Burke better not interfere in trades and acquisitions

        Ron …. gedderdone

      • Confirm , Ron Hextall next Penguins GM !

  9. Leafs are crazy if they trade Dermott as in this condensed season depth will be tested. Last August after Muzzin went down Holl looked lost and I think lack of depth D was this issue. Kerfoot for Bennett seems a wash to me. A little money could be saved is all.

    • I agree. Leafs need to hang on to their depth

      And cannot trade to help other teams in their division

  10. Where are the Bennett to Toronto rumours gone ..
    Great idea , or was a great idea , once visualized as a Gilmour cline, even wore number 93 , playing for Gilmour and the Kingston Frontenacs ..
    Not like u have to sell the farm to get this guy and 2.5 cap hit is more than fair …
    A chippy 2 way player that needs to find his game , needs a coach to reach his potential ..Keefe can bring that out , in him …
    Make this happen Dubais ,!
    Kerfoot , Dermot , Lingren lots of possibilities ..
    A diamond in the rough ..
    A Gilmour in the making , U never know !!
    A change in scenery will definitely help this scenario

  11. Koivu retires.

    The Torts affect continues.

    • Hi FD

      I certainly wouldn’t be surprised if that was a contributing factor; could br the main factor; in his retirement

      Clb better look out… why wouldn’t Laine consider an offer sheet after the season…. he at least should be all ears to discussions and verbal offers

      GMJK has 7 UFAs and 3 RFAs to deal with this off season

      Let Tortz go…. huge advantage in keeping most of those

      Keep Tortz… can easily see at least 5 say b-bye

  12. I would want Dermott in a Bennett deal. Draft picks not worth much since the Leafs will likely make final 4 this year. Although MTL will be a tough out. You would need to add a roster player that isn’t 40 . Really like Mikheyev (1.6m ) speed and size. Might be able to steal him in a multiple player trade

    • Hi SilverSeven

      I’m not as confident as you re Leafs playoff success

      I think that as at now; their most likely first round match up is with Jets; and Hellebuyck alone could steal that series

      I don’t see Leafs getting buy Habs anyway

      Beaten by Jets would likely have Leafs picking high teens low 20’s

      If theydo get by Jets; can’t see them beating Habs… so pick is then 24th-27th

      Next year they still have 1/2 Cap on 4 Fwds and if that remains; still no cup

      That leaves (after next year) only two seasons with Mathews…. he’s a goner come 5 minutes after the UFA gates open on 1/7/24 🤬😡💩