Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – February 7, 2021

by | Feb 7, 2021 | Rumors | 23 comments

Are the Maple Leafs interested in Flames forward Sam Bennett? Are the Canucks shopping Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette? What’s the latest on Senators center Derek Stepan? Find out in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.


SPORTSNET: NHL insider Chris Johnston appeared on Hockey Central on Friday where he was asked about the trade status of Sam Bennett. The 24-year-old Calgary Flames forward was a healthy scratch from Thursday’s loss to the Winnipeg Jets, stoking speculation he could be moved soon.

Should the Toronto Maple Leafs acquire Sam Bennett from the Calgary Flames? (NHL Images)

Johnston didn’t feel a trade was imminent but didn’t rule out the possibility. He believes the Toronto Maple Leafs have some level of interest in Bennett but wasn’t sure if they had the right trade piece to tempt the Flames.

TORONTO SUN: Steve Simmons believes the Leafs could use a player like Bennett to bring an edge to their third line. He doesn’t expect they could land him in a one-for-one swap of Alex Kerfoot but suggested adding a sweetener could get the deal done.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: There was some suggestion Bennett could be considered as having played his final game with the Flames if he was scratched from Saturday’s tilt with the Edmonton Oilers. He was back in the lineup for that contest, scoring his first goal of the season. Perhaps they were showcasing him in that game for a trade or maybe he was scratched to send a message that he needs to pick up his play.

Cap Friendly indicates the Flames don’t have much salary-cap space. Bennett carries an annual average value of $2.55 million and becomes a restricted free agent this summer while Kerfoot is signed through 2022-23 with an AAV of $3.5 million. If the Leafs are interested in Bennett, the sweetener suggested by Simmons should be picking a big chunk of Kerfoot’s cap hit. However, that might not be possible given the Leafs’ cap situation.


THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston reports the struggling Vancouver Canucks have floated the names of forwards Jake Virtanen and Adam Gaudette in the trade market. Given their poor performances, however, there doesn’t seem to be any interest in either player.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That isn’t surprising. Virtanen has potential as a second-line scorer but his inconsistency has damaged whatever trade value he may have had. Gaudette showed some promise last season with 12 goals and 33 points in 59 games but he had a disappointing effort in the 2020 playoffs and hasn’t improved since.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reported the Ottawa Senators are exploring trade possibilities for Derek Stepan. Friedman feels it’s more to do with family issues than performance. “He’s away from his family and I think they want to get him closer.” The Senators acquired Stepan from the Arizona Coyotes before the season began. He left his family in Arizona when he joined the Senators.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Former Sportsnet insider Nick Kypreos and Ottawa Sun reporter Bruce Garrioch first broke this report last week. They also indicated this was being considered for family reasons. There’s no indication where they could ship Stepan. It’s unlikely he’ll return to the Coyotes as they traded him as a cost-cutting measure.


  1. It’s hard to watch the Canucks after the promise they showed in the summer.
    Something’s gotta give there.

    • It’s hard to watch the Canucks.

      • It’s hard to watch the whole shinny playing Canadian division, wait until they meet some real teams in the playoffs!

      • Frank i have to agree with you, with all the hype for the Canadian Division, it has not come close to delivering in entertainment value.

        The hockey been boring an uninspired.

        McDavid and Matthew could go on a 50 game point streak.

        Toffoli could get 20 goals against the Canucks.

      • It’s hard to watch the entire North Division. But at least the Canucks held TO without a touchdown last night.

    • Don’t get the complaints about the North Division. It’s a heck of a lot of fun from what I’ve seen and I’ve watched a lot. Too much scoring for you guys?

      • I actually agree. If anything, it may be difficult for the other divisions to address to the high pace, high event hockey coming out of the north.

      • SCJ: I’ll believe it when I see it. Nobody has had any problem playing Leafs past few seasons.

      • I guess if your definition of “fun” hockey is watching Ottawa and Van lose by a touchdown every night, then go for it.

        Not one of these teams can play DEFENSE except Perhaps the Canadians.

        The top North team would have a hard time making the playoffs, if they were in the Met Division.

      • So one division is tougher. Makes this one bad hockey. I don’t get that either. Even if I agree that the top team in the north may not make it in the playoffs if they were in the metro it still is good hockey even if you think the teams are mid tier.

  2. Virtanen has zero trade value. 2 million hit against the cap for him is ridiculous. Yet another example of Benning throwing good money after bad.

    Buyout Sutter, let Virtanen walk and he would have had ample cap room to resign Toffili.

    • Well if guys look at the standings I believe the Leafs are top in the league so how you figure they wouldn’t make the playoffs I another division ??

  3. I called the Bennet scenario last night . Maybe they found a home . Certainly Johnny G could use some toughness on his line.
    Losing the Markstrom Tanev combo is not helping things. Benn was a healthy scratch most of last season and now top 4 minutes. I thought Schmidt would help but the Canucks Can’t seem to play team defence. The forward group is ok and PP dangerous. Backend including net is a big nope. Grandpa Munster had better focus on correcting that

    • Bennett will not stay with Gaudreau and Monahan. The relationship can not be mended at this point so they want to increase his trade value as much as they can. Plus with Leivo and Simon stinking up the joint and Ryan hurt, they needed Bennett back in the lineup.

  4. GO LEAFS GO.!!!! If your team was as good as the LEAFS you wouldn’t be saying the shinny division.!
    The people on here are so jealous that their team isn’t half as good as the LEAFS….!!!!!!!

    • Ha, My team being the Bruins is every bit as good as the leafs, watching Toronto is like watching midget hockey, no defensive system much like the Canucks, Oilers, Ottawa, etc

  5. Funny how trades have a way to be very one sided but it may take years to fully see the downside or upside.

    Take for example “IF” Toronto traded Keefoot plus for Bennett in essence
    The leafs gave up Kadri for Bennett.

    I don’t think anyone would have ever even remotely suggested such a one sided trade. But here we are with some pundits throwing out a Keerfoot for Bennett trade.

    Strange turn of events.

    • I do not see a value in a Kerfoot + for Bennett trade?

      Kerfoot has shown to be a superior player. Bennett’s best season was 36 points and he’s been a minus player every year in the league. The Flames could have had Nylander, Ehlers, Larkin, Pasternak but took Bennett too high. He’s shown in a big enough sample size that he’s a 3rd line player. The Leafs have plenty of guys like this making 1/3 the salary

      The Kadri for Barrie trade was a big mistake. The Leafs would have been far better off putting Kadri at LW with Nylander and Tavares and trading Kapanen and Johnsson to make the numbers work. Kadri makes $1M more than Kerfoot Barrie was not the type of RHD they needed.

      • I don’t see Kerfoot as being superior to Bennett who may be well suited for a 3rd line center, a fair bit more grit than Kerfoot. The trade Kadri nixed to Calgary was certainly a better one than the eventual trade Dubas made. I think though you are bang on with your idea of Kadri on the wing with Taveres & Nylander on the other side.

  6. Leafs have to make this trade for Sam Bennett … There is away too much upside for this player, not to make it happen !
    He was drafted 4th. Overall , Nylander was taken 8th over all this draft year …
    Bennett needs a change of scenery , played for Foug Gilmour in Kingston , wore number 93 ..Gilmour openly has mentioned on several occasions, Bennett reminds him of himself.
    My understanding , Is pushing Leafs to make this deal happen .. Enough Said. !
    Kerfoot for Bennett will not happen … Calgary GM didn’t fall off of a turnip truck …
    Still , the bait going back to Calgary wouldn’t be a hindrance to the Leafs …
    Bennett is a”chippy” player , lots of penalty minutes in junior ..
    Another Gilmour steal , deja vu all over again !!!!
    3 rd line center, or wing on the 1st or second line ….
    Trade Anderson to Arizona while you are at it … 888 save percentage isn’t cutting it Over -rated and a contract fast approaching for Anderson …
    Leafs are a lot closer to a Cup , making these 2 player moves .
    Bennett is a “no brainer” hadn’t hit his peak ….
    Anderson move would be great, but probably not realistic .
    Dump Kerfoot ‘s contract somewhere, 3.5 million waste of space …

    • Ken

      Bennett has shown what he is over a large sample size…he’s shown that in 374 games that he’s a 3rd or 4th line player. His best year was 36 points and he’s been a minus player every year.
      He’s already being outperformed by several Leaf players making substantially less salary.

      Just because Calgary whiffed on their 4th overall selection doesn’t mean the Leafs need to bail them out.

      If he doesn’t want to play a checking role in CGY why would he want to do it in TOR?

  7. Daryl

    Gilmour managed Kingston , while Bennet was a Frontenac .
    Everybody marches to a different drummer ….
    It’s not a huge risk in this player , as you are not selling the farm to get his services .
    I have a “ gut” feeling , the player is under performing for whatever reason , hopefully not his talent level. ?
    Just found out Simmons is out for “6” weeks , which is a”huge” blow …
    I was right on the Simmons addition . Now , we don’t have him . I am hoping I am right on the Bennett thought .
    I am not a Kerfoot or a Vesey fan …: BennetT , with a Matthews, Tavares , or leading the way , taking over another line , I think he would be a “valued “ addition ..I know he has been a minus player in Calgary …
    I could be wrong on this player, but I don’t think so, especially with Gilmour , pushing for it to HAPPEN !

    • Ken many fans in Calgary dont want to see Bennett traded. Leave the kid with Gaudreau & Monahan for the next 5 games or more. Whats the worst that can happen? He plays better with better linemates & generates more interest demand? He plays great & fits so good on that line that Treliving mends a bridge & Ward figures out Bennett is really a top 6 player. Hartly got the best out of Bennett in his first year, but Hartly was a Feaster hire & ushered out by Treliving. Trelivings coaches have literally crapped the bed with player usage these last few years. Bennett has had most anchors to play with. Yeah a little bit is on Sam for not elevating the likes of Jankowski & the revolving door on RW, one shakes their head wondering why Sam wasnt given that 3rd line Centre spot instead of Jankowski. But whoever is going to get him is going to get an RFA who is very motivated to get a much better contract. Flames dont have to trade him right now, last night showed that. He played good. If anything, the type of offers being spewed out lately, Treliving could probably get a better deal selling Sam as a rental at the TDL next year.