Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 14, 2021

by | Feb 14, 2021 | Rumors | 43 comments

More Penguins speculation, two of the players involved in yesterday’s Hurricanes-Senators trade shouldn’t get too comfortable, and an update on Derek Stepan in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


THE ATHLETIC: Rob Rossi recently examined the big decisions facing the Pittsburgh Penguins following their hiring of Ron Hextall as general manager and Brian Burke as president of hockey operations.

Sources close to Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin confirm both players endorsed the Burke-Hextall partnership. Team co-owner Mario Lemieux has long expressed to confidants and previous GMs that he wants both players to retire as Penguins.

Malkin’s contract expires at the end of next season. The Penguins can open contract extension talks this summer. Rossi noted Malkin stated in September 2019 his preference to signing a three-year extension to finish his career in Pittsburgh. He believes the Penguins will keep Malkin as that was the understanding when Burke and Hextall signed on.

Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Kris Letang (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some pundits outside of Pittsburgh wondered about Malkin’s future (and Crosby’s) under the Penguins’ new management. It appears neither he nor Crosby will be going anywhere based on Rossi’s report. The situation could change but if ownership wants Malkin and Crosby to retire as Penguins then that’s what’s going to happen.

Kris Letang’s contract also expires at the end of next season. Rossi reports Lemieux is believed to prefer retaining the veteran defenseman. However, Burke and Hextall weren’t told Letang couldn’t be traded, only that any trade “must be done the right way for respect for all he’s done.”

Rossi also cited sources saying former GM Jim Rutherford placed calls to many teams to gauge interest in Letang. However, a deal to move him was never in place and wasn’t the reason behind Rutherford’s decision to step down. It remains to be seen if Letang wants to re-sign or what the Penguins might get in return if they trade him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Letang has a modified no-trade clause listing 18 preferred trade destinations. It’s difficult to say what his value could be but given his age (34) and UFA status next summer they might not find many takers in the trade market.

The logjam on the left side of the Penguins’ blueline could become Hextall’s priority to address before the Apr. 12 trade deadline. Rossi speculates either Mike Matheson or Juuso Riikola will have to go.

Parting with Matheson could require Hextall to package the blueliner with a draft pick, prospect or a player off the current roster. The Penguins cannot afford to carry an extra defenseman with Matheson’s contract ($4.875 million AAV through 2025-26).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Matheson lacks no-trade protection this season but his modified no-trade (eight-team no-trade list) goes into effect next season. Moving him this season is preferable but his cap hit and poor play make him a tough sell.


SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Chris Johnston reports anyone involved in yesterday’s trade between the Carolina Hurricanes and Ottawa Senator shouldn’t get too comfortable in their new locations.

Johnston doesn’t consider it out of the question that Alex Galchenyuk’s stay with the Hurricanes will be short given he’s bounced around a lot in recent years and could be on the move again in the near future. Meanwhile, the Senators have a decision to make with Ryan Dzingel. He’s in the final year of his contract and could be flipped for a draft pick at the Apr. 12 trade deadline if they decide not to keep him.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cedric Paquette was the centerpiece of that deal. The Hurricanes intend to keep him for the playoffs given his gritty style of play and postseason experience. Galchenyuk saw limited action with the Senators while Dzingel wasn’t playing up to expectations with the Hurricanes.

The Hurricanes could flip Galchenyuk to another club at some point before the trade deadline. Dzingel could also be moved if he fails to regain the scoring touch he had during his previous tenure with the Sens.


SPORTSNET: Wayne Scanlan reported Friday center Derek Stepan could be among the first Senators moved before the trade deadline. He’s among several players eligible for unrestricted free agent status this summer who could be useful pieces for a contending team.

Scanlan reported the team and the player seem to regret the trade that brought him to Ottawa. The veteran center is missing his family in Arizona but GM Pierre Dorion insisted Stepan hasn’t requested a trade. Nevertheless, Scanlan feels it’s clear Stepan is hoping the Senators can move him closer to home.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: A solid performance by Stepan in the coming weeks could improve his trade value. His annual average value is $6.5 million but he’s earning just $2 million in actual salary after being paid a $3 million signing bonus by the Arizona Coyotes before his acquisition by the Senators. Still, the Sens might have to pick up part of his AAV to make him attractive to cap-strapped contenders.


  1. Hextall couldn’t give LeTurnover and/or Matheson away … yes Jim Rutherford was instrumental in the Pens winning B2B cups but he left the team worse off than Ray Shero did …

    truculence …

    • Ed…..Penguins played well and looked engaged..
      Crosby rust guentzel played well..

      Leturover gets beat 30 seconds in penalty then gas a nice pass on the power play. Then takes another dumb penalty later 2 assists

      Matheson actually played his best game at well as codi ceci

      We get dumoulin pettersson back soon

      Use marcus pettersson ro acquire a third line center

      Maybe an eris stahl who is big strong defensively responsible good shoot good face offs. Shor tterm investment ..

      Blueger aston reese jankowski good 4th line

      • Malkin sucked as usual if they extend him in the off season they should b shot..

  2. Stepans salary is only 2m,of which some has been payed already. Ottawa has plenty of cap space, so retaining max 50% still only costs less than a mil in real dollars.
    Stepan (50%)to Blues for Dunn? Maybe Sens add a pick? Some contender that needs center depth will take him for his experience.

  3. Letang: 7.25 million salary, history of concussions, had a stroke, couldnt check a hat.

    Good luck trading that.

    • Never understood the theory that Letang sucks, because he doesn’t.
      The guy has been, and still is, the #1 D man on a consistent contender.
      Won 3 cups and played 25 minutes a night for a decade. Still playing close to that this year. One playoff year he played over 27 minutes a night in the playoffs, and should have been the MVP IMO.
      Controls possession when he is on the ice and is a plus on a minus team this year.
      Imagine where the Pens would be without this guy? Is he a bruiser? No. Does he have some turnovers, ya, all guys who have the puck on their stick a lot do.
      Chris LeTurnover is a catchy name, but the guy is still a good reliable skilled defenceman. Not what he was, and no all star anymore, but a good player none the less.
      I hope the Pens have a plan to replace him because if they trade him without that guy, they will be worse.

      • If tanger is traded the return will surprise many on here. That being said it will probably also disappoint the casual pens fan.

      • Consistent contender?

        Last time I looked the Penguins missed the playoffs.

      • Ron, they were in a playoff spot when the season paused. Like a few teams didn’t play well after a few month break. 3rd in their division, 5 pts ahead of 4th. So solidly in a playoff spot.
        Just like they were the previous 15 years. In a row. Did I mention 3 cups over that time?
        Like I said consistent contender.

      • RAY..If he is dealt it will be in the off season.

        He still skates well but takes bad penalties (2 today) and turns the puck over way to often.
        Many bad passes today.if he could just keep his game simple he would b alright.

        He will be dealt to Montreal offf season..he is a French Canada kid

        Marino is ready to play with dumoulin number 1 pairing.
        He has been a terrific penguin no doubt agree with you

      • Good take, Ray. No coach who wants to keep his job would continue playing Letang almost half a game, season after season, if Letang were a drag on the team. Exceptional players are that because they make exceptional plays. They get caught sometimes, but they would be ordinary players if they didn’t try.

    • If your hitting, you don’t have the puck. Maybe that’s why he doesn’t hit. He’s got the puck most of the time

      • thing for the penguins is to let Malkin &Letang play out their contracts…and let rhem walk….
        Trade almost 99% unlikely.

  4. I haven’t read it in any response, but to me it seemed like Dzingel is coming in to fill the hole that would be created in a Stepan deal. Maybe ye can regain his form back in Ottawa, who have played a lot better than their record shows, but are getting terrible ‘tending.

  5. It seems that the Penguins and Rangers might both benefit by exchanging undesirables. A Matheson-for-DeAngelo trade would solve the Penguins left-defense problem at the cost of bringing them a corrosive dissident, while the Rangers would redeem an unused salary at the risk of suffering with a useless one for several years.

    The players have similar cap hits.

    • Hi Francis

      From a pure trade level stance (all else equal).., reasonable

      However with Pens still not playing as a whole, the introduction of a player with baggage (with possible dire dressing room effects) is definitely not worth the risk that he will start playing to his (ADA’s) skill level

      • If Pens fans don’t like it, and Rangers fans don’t like it, it must be a fair trade.

      • Ha

    • Francis, DeAngelo has 1 year left on his contract after this season that can cheaply be bought out. Matheson is signed for 5 more! Rangers have enough (1) crappy, former Pens dmen

    • I can’t remember the last time the Pens and Rangers made a trade.

      • Kovalev for nedved?

      • Strome and DeAngelo for Letang and Rodriguez. What do you say Pengy?

      • I don’t get why every trade in the offseason through now has ny trying to unload strome and deangelo. Deangelo had little value then and none now and strome has always had little trade value.

      • Chrisms. Strome isn’t in rumors. He was in off season when he was a rfa and team was looking to upgrade at center. Same for DeAngelo in off season. Was a rfa. Rangers are deep in prospects and GM has to manage cap. A bit disingenuous to say they had no trade value when both had career years.

      • Not disingenuous at all. Both had career years yet from what I can gather from media (and that can be all a crock as we all know) is that ny had to swallow hard and sign them as hey had no trade value.

        They are currently a take my wife please joke. (Slight exaggeration).

    • Burke already said on hockey night in Canada that he would personally not pick up Deangelo

  6. Canucks Aqualini gives vote of confidence to Benning and Green.

    The kiss of death.

    • Could be worse

      They could fire one Jimbo and hire the other!

  7. Letang walks away for nothing or signs short (2 yrs) for less than half of his current with the Pens . Not sure how you trade him, Burke did say last night they are going to look at things this summer. They are going to see if they can win with this group this year. When healthy Pens have a lot of D that may have some interest for picks. The cupboard is bare. I believe the day of trading first rounders is gone.

    • Hi SilverSeven

      The day of trading away 1sts, BETTER be gone for Pens

      Right now all is tight in that Div for 3rd through 5th…. Reg win by Pens today…. Pens, Isles, Caps all at 15 points in 13 games

      Next 8 Pens games…. 4 v Caps, 4 v Isles

      Take 5 of those in reg…. sitting good

      Only 3 of those as wins with no OT losses…. UhOh

      When healthy


      Marino/PO-J or Pettersson

      Ceci or Riikola / PO-J or Pettersson

      That’s 7 D

      With Reilly and Lee as depth and for the future…. and still in the system : Alamari , Maniscalco, Czuczman , Lingren, Trottman

      Then ….

      Matheson, Weber, Ruhweedel are pointless in having around

      They can waive Weber and Ruhweedel … won’t be picked up ; no Sal stays above the line

      Matheson at $4.9 M can only have $1.07 M buried

      He’s still owed $28.5 M after this year;

      Buyout…only saves $7.2 M of that as he has some heavy SBs coming (still have to pay SBs if bought out) and Cap hits of

      Then 5 years of $1.4

      After this year it’s rebuild time … so Cap not as important

      Retain 50%…. saves over $7 M compared to buyout option AND Cap hit $2.45 M for 5 years (Cap not as important during rebuild)…. and most importantly; much more tradable at 50% retained

      Playing as he has been…. at 50% retained; still few takers , might need sweetener

      If he steps up and plays well over these next 8 games…. trade value increases

      Fingers crossed for at least 5 more reg wins in Feb


      Could Ronny get GMJB drunk enough to do Matheson/Ruhweedel for Loui?

      Then buyout Loui in the summer

    • Silverscree..agreed left him ay out his contract..then resin for a lot less like $3.5 million not $7.25

      Same with Malkin let his co tract run out resign for like $ 4 million not $ 9.5

  8. Looks like everyone must be busy with their significant others today! Well, as one of the single ones, I’ll make a suggestion:

    If Anaheim decides to go full re-build, they will be a little bit behind Ottawa in the process…. John Gibson is 27 now, if Anaheim starts a re-build by trading vets for 1st round picks at this season’s deadline, Gibson will be in his 30s by the time any draft picks start entering the NHL.

    Is there enough of a prospect pool/draft pick pool in Ottawa to entice the Ducks to trade Gibson there, in exchange for Matt Murray, Derek Stepan (salary retained for cap purposes) and more?

    Maybe Murray would be happier playing in sunny California than he is in Ottawa, and starts playing a bit better. Stepan would be close to home. But what, if anything else, beyond Murray and Stepan, would Ottawa have to give to land Gibson?

    Buffalo is another eastern team that could so very clearly use Gibson, but I just don’t see that they would have enough.

    • Hi Augustus

      Mrs Pengy allowing a bit of time to post

      If Ducks do go on rebuild … not 100% sure yet…. what about Gibson to Wings (for Griess )

      Wings have 2 extra 2nds and an extra 3rd in the upcoming draft…. so assets to use in the Greiss for Gibson trade

      Do they ask the Captain if he’d like to go to a contender at TDL (retain 50%) ?

      • Hi Pengy,

        The only issue I would see with Gibson going to Detroit is that Detroit is, in my opinion, further behind Ottawa in their own re-build – beyond Joe Veleno, Moritz Seider, Lukas Raymond and Filip Zadina, their pool is pretty shallow too. At least Ottawa has players already starting their NHL careers – Thomas Chabot, Christian Wolanin, Erik Brannstrom on D with Lassi Thomson to follow… Batherson, B. Tkachuk, Stuetzle, Josh Norris, and soon Formenton up front – just SEEMS like Ottawa is poised to rise sooner than Detroit.

        The Ducks would have no shortage of suitors if Getzlaf were put on the block.

        I mentioned Buffalo because if they don’t get their..stuff..together soon it’ll be bye-bye Jack Eichel and back to the drawing board. They have some decent pieces, an actual goalie could spark something there.

        @Ray, posted just below Pengy, no doubt Gibson would be an answered prayer for Edmonton… would require Koskinen going back, plus another young roster player or two, and a high pick or two. The Oilers still have a ton of work to do to fill out their forward ranks, as Josh Archibald, Alex Chiasson, Zack Kassian, James Neal, Kyle Turris, Tyler Ennis – these guys aren’t going to be around if or when Edmonton becomes a true contender. Only keepers up front for Edmonton in my mind are McDavid, LD, RNH, Yamamoto, Khaira for the bottom six (preferably 4th line) and give Kahun a longer chance, he’s cheap. Everyone else can go and be replaced by better.

        Nurse does look pretty good this year, they should be fine on D once Klefbom is playing full-time and Evan Bouchard keeps developing. Broberg is in the wings for a few years down the road.

      • @PENGY..Anaheim is a good trade partner for the penguins.
        We have a history there with the ducks.

        To Pittsburgh;
        LHD Josh Manson $4.1
        CenterAdam Henrique $5.8

        $9.9 million

        To Anaheim;
        LHD Marcus Pettersson $4.025

        LW Jason Zucker $5.5 million

        $9.525 to Anaheim


        We get that bonino stahl type 3rd center and a big rough defenseman.

        Ducks get a scoring win ger young top 4 d man

    • Re Gibson, if they do decide to move him, Edmonton would be a great place for him.
      He would be the missing piece to the puzzle as their young D comes of age.
      Nurse is looking like a #1 just as a random thought.

  9. Galcheynuk, Bryon, Lindholm, and DeKeyser on waivers.

  10. Byron for free ? A team looking to add some speed should take it. He can flat out fly. Cant stay healthy.
    Carlsson with CLB also cheap. A second round pick with size. Again you had me at free !

  11. Byron on waivers, Tatar a healthy scratch, Mantha a healthy scratch, is there a trade coming between Montreal and Detroit with Tatar going back home?

    • No……no…….no……..NO !!!!!