Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 21, 2021

by | Feb 21, 2021 | Rumors | 54 comments

More Jack Eichel speculation, almost everyone on the Predators could be available in the trade market, and Ethan Bear’s trade value in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SI.COM/THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin believes the Jack Eichel era is heading toward a cliff in Buffalo. The Sabres captain was disgruntled over the club’s direction before last year’s front-office purge, the team isn’t scoring and Larkin expects rival clubs could soon start making trade offers for their franchise player.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel remains a hot topic for trade conjecture (NHL Images).

Larkin cites recent comments by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman indicating Eichel was unhappy over his situation last summer. While he didn’t request a trade, rival teams did make inquiries. Larkin wonders how much more Eichel will endure before he wants out.

Eichel’s no-movement clause doesn’t kick in until after the 2021-22 season, giving the Sabres a window of opportunity to trade him to any team. They would get significant offers because the 24-year-old center is in the prime of his playing career.

Larkin acknowledged the idea of moving Eichel and pending free agent winger Taylor Hall hurts. However, if the Sabres aren’t improving with those two in the lineup it might be best to hit the reset button.

TORONTO SUN: Michael Traikos also wonders if it’s time for the Sabres to trade Eichel. He points to this being the center’s sixth season in the league with a team showing no sign of progress. Traikos pondered the possibility of Eichel following the same path as Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois and ask his agent to request a trade.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see the Sabres shopping Eichel before the trade deadline if they haven’t climbed into playoff contention by then. However, I expect ownership and management will sit down with their captain to discuss the club’s situation and his future in Buffalo.

The Sabres will hang onto Eichel if he’s willing to stay put. If one side or the other believes it’s time to move on, an offseason trade makes the most sense. That’s when teams have more cap space and a willingness to make blockbuster moves.

Possible destinations for Eichel could be rebuilding teams with plenty of salary-cap space to absorb his $10 million annual average value and with sufficient assets to help the Sabres rebuild. The Detroit Red Wings, Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers fall into that category and could be among the suitors.


SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman reports word is there are only three untouchables – Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis and Pekka Rinne – on the Nashville Predators. He believes they could be willing to listen to trade offers on almost everyone else, including winger Filip Forsberg and defenseman Dante Fabbro.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman points out Rinne is among the untouchables because he’s coming to the end of his contract. I doubt there would be much of a market for the 38-year-old goaltender given his fading performance and $5 million annual average value.

Just because the Preds are willing to listen to offers on guys like Forsberg and Fabbro doesn’t mean those players will be traded. Those two are among their better players and I doubt they’ll be moved unless there’s a mind-blowing offer for either guy.

The most obvious trade candidates are pending UFAs such as Mikael Granlund, Erik Haula and Brad Richardson. Mattias Ekholm, Calle Jarnkrok and Nick Cousins could also be available as they each have a year remaining on their contracts with affordable salary-cap hits.

Ekholm has been often mentioned in recent days as perhaps their most desirable trade chip. That would change, of course, if guys like Forsberg and Fabbro are available.


THE ATHLETIC: Jonathan Willis recently observed the notion of the Edmonton Oilers shopping Ethan Bear has been floating around. Willis doubts they will move the 23-year-old defenseman because they lack a proper replacement for him, weakening their blue line. He feels any assessment of Bear as a trade chip only makes it clear how important he is to the Oilers.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I can’t argue with Willis’ assessment. Sure, the Oilers could use him as a trade chip to address another roster issue but doing so would then leave a hole to be addressed on the defense.


  1. Holland already gave John Marino away for nothing, why not Bear???

    Sabres have a lot of nice pieces to deal and reset … not sure Kevyn Adams is the guy to do it though …

    • Marino wasn’t interested in signing there and would have ended up a ufa. They got something instead and of nuttin.

  2. Is it me or is Jack Eichel production part of the issue there? Sure the dee and goal are to easy to blame, but you gotta be a game to game on the scoreboard guy and score to win, right?

    • Bill, I agree. If Eichel played like McDavid and his team still sucked then I would feel he gave it his all and it’s time to move on. But Eichel has only 13 points in 14 games, is a -8 and is payed $10 million/year. To me he’s a big part of the problem, him and whatever curse seems to follow Taylor Hall from team to team.

  3. Nylander was benched most of the game against Montreal , Keefe expands in that …
    Here is a player needing a change of scenery ..
    Nashville is desperate , Buffalo is Buffalo – same old,same old ..,
    Here is an opportunity for either one of these teams .
    Nashville is willing to trade just about anybody …
    Well swing for the fences and take this “lamb” duck out of Toronto …
    Tavares , hopefully new blood on his line will re energize him as well … , although it would be nice to them both packaged , but only wishful thinking !
    Toronto can throw in a 1st rounder .
    They don’t know how to draft anyways, unless , it’s within the top 4 or 5. Picks …

  4. Someone please take Erik Karlsson from the Sharks. I’d trade him for a banana and a bag of peanuts….

    • Sorry Rock, on half retained salary that is too much of an ask.

    • I felt George’s smile from here after that one Rock

      • Yeah, FD, gave me a giggle for sure. If that was a “hosing” for Dorion I bet he hopes all his hosings will follow that pattern. That one, the Hoffman one, the Duschene one ….

        They were finishing last or near last with all of them in the line-up at one stage or another – better to do that without forking over close to $30 mil at the same time, just so a few disgruntled “fans” won’t have their heroes to worship. The ONLY regrettable loss from that bunch was Stone. But he wanted out so …

    • Karlsson is useless..he has dramatically declined the last 4 years.
      He never was good defenseman defensively but his offense covered that that’s dried up..and a step slower.
      Us he makes what a billion dollars??

      • I blame the injury. He was absolutely dynamic before then. To imply otherwise is factually incorrect.

      • Blackngold, he costs $11.5 mil off the cap and will do so for 6 more seasons after this when he’ll be pushing 37! That’s about $8.5 mil more than he’s worth. I damned near choked back when it was rumored that Dorion had offered him $12 mil per to stay – although I don’t believe the term he offered was anywhere near what San Jose forked over. If I recall correctly, it was 5 years. Even then, I was glad when that deal was made, and so, I believe, are those local “fans” who vowed to never go to another game when the trade was announced.

        Another whose nose was out of joint was Daniel Alfredsson who had again left Ottawa’s employ in June 2017 – for reasons not stated (not promised the GM position? – just guessing) but that Karlsson trade a year later apparently didn’t make him any happier.

        Good riddance to both as far as I’m concerned.

    • How about taking Jeff Skinner back 1 for 1

  5. Wouldn’t Nashville change coaches before cleaning house?
    I could see Calgary making a move behind the bench as well.
    Seems to me that coaching changes are much simpler than trades these days and possibly just as effective. There are coaches with winning track records out there and I’m surprised none of them have been snapped up.

    • BC, you are correct.
      It is just a matter of time before Jeff Ward gets fired.
      I would like to see the Flames hire Gerard Gallant.
      His teams play a very aggressive style which I like.

      Anyone know if Gallant is in the US or in Canada? ( COVID related question)

  6. As at now I’d say 50-50 Eichel moves off season

    That 50-50 is because it is still relatively early in season and due to scheduling; there are teams that have not even played 2 or 3of their Div opponents yet

    If Sabres stay (at season end) hovering just North of Sens ; and don’t re-up TH (why would he want to stay)…. then I’d boost those odds (of Eichel being dealt off-season) to 80-20…. a bucket back for the then rebuilding Sabres

    Re Friedman …. who does have good insights I might add… but…

    “ Friedman points out Rinne is among the untouchables because he’s coming to the end of his contract. ”

    That is not “untouchable”… perhaps “hard to trade”; but certainly not “untouchable”

    If Preds are out at TDL (count that as more than likely) ; why would they deem him untouchable ?

    50% retained… there should be at least one team wanting to strengthen playoff run chances but currently (@TDL) sitting with a poor back-up…. and some space…. Preds would get something at least for Rinne , rather than paying him to finish the season (and maybe his career) out of the playoffs

    The final team doesn’t even have to take on 50% …. they could get Rinne for less (cite VGKs acquisition of Lehner last year for less than 50% with a to-through trade)

    Very few teams are secure in both of their goaltenders (Knights and Habs to name 2)

    To me , Avs glaring potential Achilles is in net…. just sayin’

  7. Nylander being benched last night was one thing, then it was reported that Keefe use to do the same thing to Nylander while with the Marlies.

    With Dubas supposing to have told Nylander he wouldn’t be traded.

    If Nylander hasn’t changed from his AHL days to Keefe liking. Then now what?

  8. Pengy. Buffalo currently has 6th worse winning pct. Hall isn’t doing anything to change situation he was in last off season. He likes coach, but really hard to get a feel for where he wants to play long term. IMO. Sabres aren’t making playoffs. The way schedule is set up, every game is a 4 point game. Tough division and they’re at bottom over a quarter in. TDL is 7 weeks from tomorrow. Hall, Staal, Montour, McCabe, and both goalies are all ufa at seasons end. Sabres need to make decisions over next month on what’s next. Eichel is signed. Deal with him in off season.

    • Concur Slick

      I think there will be many looking into Staal ; not sure who is on his list

      Would love him on Pens

      Is Staal going to retire after this year? Will be 37 in a few months… another go at the Cup

      Sabres could retain 50% …. after escrow at TDL… that’s only about $400 K in cash

      Surely 50% retained (meaning annual cap hit of only $1.5 M) opens up quite a few teams as suitors…. that has to be at least a 2nd right?

      If TH re-ups with Sabres… (and I believe best case scenario is that they are at least 3 years away from winning a playoff series) …. then I believe he is not making a prudent move

      • @Pengy..Penguins coming around with two solid wins over the always tough islanders.

        Jarry looks better, letang scoring, malkin showing a pulse, defensively better and dumo skating.

        Two things…Eric stahl to the penguins we can move Marcus pettersson for him

        Also heard penguins in on Mattis ekholm from Nashville

        Pittsburgh Philadelphia Boston Washington too

        Love eric stahl stabilty size down the middle.

      • Hi BnG

        Yes , looking much better as a team

        That’s 4 straight excellent games for both Jarry and Matheson

        Rust flying

        Sid as always doing spectacular Sid things

        Gino coming around… yep

        Guentzel is going to start popping a load in again soon

        Under no circumstances should Pens be going after another LD (Ekholm); Pens are good on that side; as you have pointed out…. could be a Pettersson move

        I know you and I don’t see eye to eye on him (Pettersson) but he could be the odd man out anyway , off-season (perhaps at TDL) as Dumo is #1LHD; Matheson doing well of late but either way; length of contract and hit ; tougher to move; and the great surprise of P-O J (although he has had a couple of rookie errors leading to two goals over the last 3 games). Easily correctable errors, I’m not worried

        I still have major major concerns with Zucker…. he is still having massive troubles giving and receiving passes; and his D miscues are becoming costly. This is not an injury as I had expected as it has gone on waaaay too long.

        Matheson has clicked with Marino…. ; Ceci has played solidly on bottom pair; if this continues when healthy…. the D could be





        That leaves Pettersson as a viable trade option

        Boy would it be fantastic if a trade like this happens…

        Zucker ($1M retained) , Pettersson , and a prospect not named Poulin or Legare; for

        Staal and Reinhardt …..

        Sid Guentz Kappy

        Gino Rusty Reinhardt

        Staal McC Turbo

        Blueger; ZAR; and one of Rodrigues, Sceviour, or Jankowski

        13th/14th: two of Rodrigues, Sceviour, or Jankowski

        Does Hextall go all in…. ??? Coyotes only have 2 D under contract next year…..

        Does Pettersson, DeSmith, and prospect not named Poulin or Legare ; get Keumper???

  9. Caper….you said “supposing to have told Nylander” It was a good choice of words. We as fans don’t know what is said to players, which players have substance issues, who are problems in the room, or that old chestnut….who is sleeping with whose wife. The Journalists are in the difficult situation of needing clics and eyes on their work in a society where too many people have the attention span of a flea.

    If he can’t or won’t trade Nylander as something he may or not have promised he should be fired today. His job is to field the best team he can. If Nylander is not as needed as some defenseman that could be traded he should be traded now.

    • Old Blue dog, I suppose you could be right.

      With that said, one important piece of information which could be relevant and hasn’t been discuss.

      Maybe Nylander is tired of Keefe and wouldn’t mind be traded.

      If this goes back to the Ahl days, Nylander maybe more then willing to move on. Or maybe we would prefer for Keefe to move on, or maybe I suppose he is quite happy in Toronto and all is good.

      • Buffalo, Nashville, Calgary, Vancouver are all teams with issues ..
        Bennett or the coach needs to go , something wrong in Calgary, with the morale ..
        Vancouver- Tuffoli , Markstrom, Tanev, all gone for no return , Bennings days in Vancouver are numbered ..
        Reilly and Anderson are free agents in Toronto at the end of the year , do u d sadism them , or let them walk for 0 return …
        Billington , in Toronto – keep your eye on that thought,, this is a strong possibility – another free agent this year !

      • Reilly is not a free agent this year.

      • Nylander to buffalo for hall?

        If I were buffalo I would NOT consider Hall long term

        TML gets a run with Hall then clears cap space I in offseason since Nylander was traded

      • @Ken, something is definitely wrong in Calgary, but I don’t think it is morale, per se, Gaudreau and Monahan don’t have terrible numbers this year, Lindholm is solid as ever, Hanifin and Tanev are a dynamite D pairing.

        I think the problem in Calgary is lack of a talented supporting cast. Gaudreau, Monahan, Lindholm and Tkachuk, fine. But the constant cycle of right wingers for Johnny and Monny doesn’t help. Mangiapane maybe just isn’t ready/developed enough, though his 6 goals isn’t terrible, for a top six role his 9 points is kinda meh. Dominik Simon, Josh Leivo, both of those guys have been trotted out on the Gaudreau line. Having Lucic earning what he does on the 3rd line is a travesty. Derek Ryan earns way too much.

        I’m miffed the Flames could not get Mark Stone from Ottawa when he was available, he would have been that one guy .. would have cost Valimaki and perhaps a 1st as well, but the short term gain would have been amazing.

  10. Buffalo has Okposo and Hodgson’s buyout for two more years, Skinner forever and a poor development history. If Eichel is going (which I don’t believe), then ask Hall to waive his NMC and move him as well as Mittelstadt and one of the goalies (both in the final year of their contracts) and retain whatever money needed. This will put their forever rebuilding process past the Okposo era and near the end of Skinner’s contract.

  11. Rock….
    The Sharks only hope is that Karlsson’s frequent injuries evolve into a LTIR situation. He’s an incredible weight to be carried thru any attempt at a rebuild.

  12. Does NYR offer Zib and kreider for Eichel & Thompson

    • Why would Buffalo do that? Z is a UFA shortly and Kreider will only decline through the length of that contract. Buffalo’s ask for Eichel starts with Laf plus slot more.

      • It’s saying they would but should consider. Laf is not a #1C. Zibby is. KReids is a #1LW. Zib And kreids are no slouches. They have put up points. Check their stats last 3 yrs pre Covid

        Hall traded for assets to build depth as well and keep a competitive roster.

        Buff cannot alway be in rebuild mode and zib and kreids provides that

        You may ask them y would nyr trade away zib And kreids. BC dollars. Need cap space for a #3c and move Chytl to 2lw and bread with EIchel and buch

        Zibby will command more than kreids looking 7m plus per and with kreids that is 13m plus per. Eichel is only 10 and leave so room for giving raises to all the ELC especially Fox.

        Maybe a 1st or 2nd goes to buff. Who knows but some5ing to think about as Buff needs something different.

    • That’s definitely not happening. Defeats the whole purpose of getting Eichel if you give up Zib. Add to that there’s no way Kreider waves ntc to go to Buffalo.

    • Eichel is the Buffalo star, a trade would take the NYR star, who would that be? Not Kreider or Zbinijad.

  13. Good to know Reilly has another year to go …
    Toronto is playing well , no doubt about it …
    I think Thornton, Simmons when he Is back , have positive influence and great leadership

    The second line is really concerning for me … They keep saying they need a winger for Tavares and Nylander …
    No they need forwards for Zach Hyman and Simmons !
    Nylander is an easy trade , now before he really drops off and NO significant value …

    • Why would the second line be concerning. Both Nylander and Tavares a close to a point a game players. Easily in the top 5 in the league of second lines. When Simmonds is healthy he goes back there.

      • John Tavares is producing exactly as expected, his production hasn’t fallen off.

        He’s the victim of his contract that’s all and TML management have to live with the lottery they won.

        Funny how most UFA bidding wars usually leave the winning team with regret, I’m very happy Bergevin “missed out” on a few.

      • Ya he’s producing better than any habs player during his tenure with the leafs. I’m glad the habs didn’t get him either. The habs have played Vancouver and Ottawa for half there games hense there deflated record. They get Ottawa 3 more times this week so that will help. Watch what happens when they start playing the rest of the division. They will slip fast. Price is over rated and Kotkiemi is a 3rd liner at best. Just check the stats the last 3 years. The Habs are missing a game breaking player. Everyone other than the habs fans know that. By the way you want balance the leafs are 8-2-1 at home and 6-1-1 away. There’s balance.

  14. A Nylander for Forsberg swap would be interesting

  15. Roger Laurin
    Tavares and Nylander production might of been a point a game , but no longer , and their plus minus has significantly dropped off
    Marner was with Tavares prior to this year and Nylander with Matthews
    Keefe has chosen to have Matthews and Marner together , therefore the second line, stats have dropped off
    It’s almost like a ghost line . You don’t even recognize them out there ..
    A point per game isn’t outstanding for Tavares , anyways -11.5 /annum investment …
    Tavares contract is very difficult to move , and a no trade clause , I would imagine .
    U watch later down the road, Leafs will buy out that contract , as did Anaheim, with Corey Perry

    • I’ll take that bet.

    • What the heck are you talking about Ken. Tavares and Nylander are very close to a point a game players this year as well. There’s been 0 decline. When you make a statement like that you should really look at the numbers. Tavares will still be in his low 30’s when his contract his up his production will not decline like you for some bizarre baseless and faceless reason believe. He’s an elite player just take team biased and team hatred out of it and look at the facts. He’s a number one center on most teams and the leafs are lucky enough to have him as a second line center.

    • And another thing Ken. Nylander was put with Tavares last year. Seriously first the Reilly thing, then saying that Tavares is not near a point a year player this year which he is, and then the Marner with Tavares last year when he was with Mathews most of the year. Are you a fan? Are you watching the games? Do you look at any sports sites for stats like Sportnet? Or do you just make stuff up?

  16. @Pengy..I would love Eric stahl for us moving forward.
    He is tough.good defensively, can put the puck in the net

    • Fully agree BnG

      Hopefully Pens on his trade list ; and Hextal makes a move

      At this point in time I’d take Staal straight up for Zucker

  17. Looks like leafs-Avalanche in the final
    Who takes home the cup !

    • The Bruins.

    • Leafs..I do t think so..they are good now but their history in the playoffs isnt good..we will see they are talented.

    • Hi Ken

      Leafs fan here, for closing in on 5 1/2 decades

      I don’t see Leafs even getting to cup; and they still need to get by Habs in a 7 game series (where D & G are paramount) just to get to the semis

      If they can somehow get by Habs; the other Semi-finalists will very likely be 3 of Bolts; Bruins, Avs and Knights; and I can’t see Leafs getting by any of them

      3 of those teams have far superior goaltending; and Avs , lets call it a draw on goaltending; but Avs D far far superior to Leafs; and Avs overall 4 lines better than Leafs

      Knights are far better on D ; gargantuan leaps and bounds better in goal; and their 4 lines overall match Leafs; and perhaps better. Their forward lines are certainly better from a defensive standpoint

      Leafs not even close in any aspect when compared to Bolts

      Bruins have slightly better D; far far superior goaltending and are similar offensively (overall) to Leafs forwards

      IMHO, this is not Leafs year

      I think they have a chance next year or the year after IF they make a big move offseason to shore up blue-line backwards



      • Why do you think the Habs are making the playoffs. Because they’ve played Vancouver and Ottawa half there games? They’re already slipping.

  18. Looks like Leafs- Avalanche final
    Who will win the Cup

    • The Bruins.