NHL Rumor Mill – March 12, 2021

by | Mar 12, 2021 | Rumors | 63 comments

A look at some suggested trade targets for the Leafs and Bruins, speculation of Eric Staal returning to the Hurricanes and the latest on the Oilers in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: In a recent mailbag segment, Luke Fox was asked if the Toronto Maple Leafs should look at acquiring Taylor Hall from the Buffalo Sabres for Alex Kerfoot, a pick and a prospect plus 50 percent of Hall’s $8 million cap hit retained. Depending on the pick and prospect, it could be a high price for the Leafs (or any team) to pay for a playoff rental. Hall’s full no-movement clause makes moving him by April 12 challenging but Fox believes he’d waive it to join the Leafs.

Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Fox is betting on the Leafs adding another top-six forward. However, I doubt it’ll be Hall unless Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas and his capologist can pull off another creative move to free up the necessary cap space to acquire him. The Leafs are pressed against the cap with almost nothing banked for trade-deadline cap space.

They could consider more affordable options to bring in a top-six forward. Fox cited Elliotte Friedman saying they’re poking around sellers like the Nashville Predators, Sabres and Detroit Red Wings. They’ve been frequently linked for Predators forward Mikael Grandlund. If they’re looking at one of the Sabres my guess is it would be Eric Staal. Fox also tossed out Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno and New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri as other options but I’m not sure either guy is available right now despite their pending free-agent statuses.


NBC SPORTS BOSTON: Nick Goss included Hall, Granlund and Palmieri among his list of suggested trade targets for the Bruins. He also included Nashville forwards Filip Forsberg and Viktor Arvidsson and defenseman Mattias Ekholm, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell, Vancouver Canucks winger Tanner Pearson, Blue Jackets defenseman David Savard and Arizona Coyotes rearguard Alex Goligoski.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I don’t see Hall, Forsberg, Arvidsson or Palmieri as realistic trade options for the Bruins. Hall’s contract is a problem while the Preds’ asking price for Forsberg and Arvidsson will be far too expensive. The Bruins also lack sufficient tradeable assets to win a bidding war for Palmieri. I’d include Rakell in that group but Bruins general manager Don Sweeney and Ducks GM Bob Murray have a recent trade history so I won’t fully dismiss that possibility.

The Bruins could use some experienced blueline depth. However, the need for scoring depth is the priority so I’m ruling out Ekholm, Savard or Goligoski. That leaves Granlund or Pearson as their more realistic trade options.


TSN: Pierre LeBrun reports the Carolina Hurricanes have internally discussed the possibility of bringing back Eric Staal, though it’s not a “top-of-the-agent” item. However, there could be a couple of Canadian teams that could have interest in the Sabres center.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Eric Staal spent nearly 12 of his 17 NHL seasons with the Hurricanes. He enjoyed his best years in Carolina, winning a Stanley Cup in 2006 and wearing the captaincy for seven seasons. A reunion with brother and current Hurricanes captain Jordan and with head coach and former teammate Rod Brind’Amour would make a great story. However, it remains to be seen if it’s a realistic option.


SPORTSNET: Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland indicated he’d prefer adding an impact player over a depth player if he makes a move before the trade deadline. He said his roster has enough depth players. However, his salary-cap situation means any deal would be dollar-in, dollar-out.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Edmonton Journal’s Jim Matheson believes the Oilers need a top-six left-winger. One option would be Montreal’s Tomas Tatar but Matheson doubts he’ll be available with the Canadiens fighting for a playoff berth. He feels the Canucks’ Tanner Pearson could be a better option but his cap hit ($3.75 million) could be a problem.


  1. Here’s a realistic option for the Leafs to acquire in my opinion…

    Jon Merrill

    Mark Psyk

    Michael Del Zotto

    Jamie Oleksiak (most difficult)

    Would cost nothing more than picks and fit their budget.

    • No use for those players

    • I agree with you Antoni. If Leafs are adding low cost Defense depth for playoffs I would take Oleksiak or Merrill. Dermott ping pongs off the bigger forwards. The playoffs require a different kind of beast at Defense. Think of Dermott as a lesser skilled Jake Gardiner in the playoffs versus a more truculant team like Boston, Columbus etc.

  2. Hall to Toronto is like having another Nylander. All is great if he is scoring; not so great if he is not. No concept of defense, taking your man, just wandering in the wilderness like a middle aged man in the fishing rod section of Canadian Tire.

    Who they need to get rid of before real problems start with the salary cap is Andersen. If Andersen stays in Toronto, it will be another first round exit. If you are old enough to remember playing records with a scratch on them, and always hoping it won’t skip, but it always does, Anderson is a 78. You can try and wipe out the scratch on that vinyl with a cloth, do a spit and shine if that doesn’t work, and then a blow and a prayer, but it will always end up skipping.

    Time to get rid of him before Dubas ends up having to trade more players to accommodate his pay hike.

    Get a reliable less expensive option with some term, along with some assets and let Campbell get more ice time.

    Suggestions: Tristan Jarry in Pitt, Darcy Kuemper in Arizona.

    Radical suggestion: Go big or go home….Hellebuyck to Toronto for Andersen, Kerfoot (half salary retained), and top prospect or high draft

    • Frank ease up on the meds man!!

      So pitt, az, peg are all going to trade toronto there starting goalie lol yeah right.

      You dont have the assets to get any of those except Kuemper but that would involve Matthews so yeah at least make a realistic suggestion.

      • LMAO please don’t utter Auston Mathews name like that. His name should only be mentioned when you make comparison to the likes of Gretzky, Lemieux, McDavid, Jordan, KOBE, Kyrie, Christiano Rinaldo, Roger Federer, General Mcarthur, Faraday, Tesla, Einstein, Hannibal, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Ali, Tyson, Habib, Al Pacino, Robert De niro, Elvis, Michael Jackson, Tupac, and Jesus Christ. Auston Mathews is a LEGEND in the making.

      • I want the leaves to win the cup with mathews at the helm so bad. Seeing an American whose sole existence is due to bettmans expansionism lead them to glory would be so satisfying.

    • Well said Frank. Great analogy as well Nylander as you said, is great when he decides to be not lazy. I think Hall is a better player than Nylander. His style of play is better suited and compliments Tavares more. I don’t see how Dubas can bring in Hall with our current cap situation. As for Anderson, I don’t see how Dubas can trade him. It’s not like he’s young with potential nor making league minimum. He is at his prime with 5mill price tag and projected to garner more money. Hellybuk is a pipe dream, he is going no where. I think the Leafs Nation is stuck with Anderson this year. I believe the area where TO can bolster is at the backend. They need to get rid of Dermott. He is too small, too hesitant, and simply don’t have the necessary hockey iq to be effective at NHL level. He is a career AHL defenseman. Replace him with some one like Edmunson, Gudas, Savard, or Ristolainen then you have an impactful trade. Anyways, nice win by the Leafs I mean by Austin Mathews and Mitch Marner. Go Leafs Go!

      • Mike you should change your handle, may I suggest


    • Good metaphors Frank…at least I enjoyed them

    • Agreed on the metaphors. No way the Winnipeg trades Hellebuyck for Toronto’s cast-offs though.

    • My Goodness! Do some of you folks watch anything other then your home team.

      The Winnipeg Jets are NOT trading Connor Hellebuyck and furthermore to that, why would they trade for a forward. There need is on the backend.

      Up front is Wheeler, Scheifele, Stastny, Connor, Ellerslie, PLD, Lowry, Corp

      I will put their top 6 up against any top 6 in the league.

      Their D needs work Pionk and Morrissey are not top 2 dman. That is where they need help.

      Hellebuyck is top 2 in the league NOT GOING ANYWHERE!

      • Don’t bother, Caper, these guys are a broken record of a bad song.

      • Caper

        Agreed. Helleybuck isn’t going anywhere.

        Chevy should be on the phone trying to get 2 D-men ASAP. Ekholm and Savard would be good fits.

    • Frank

      I’m in complete agreement about Hall. He has no place on TOR roster. Especially at the cost mentioned…Kerfoot is outperforming Hall this year and they’re suggesting a top prospect AND a pick?

      I’d go after Kuemper from ARI. They’re fighting for a playoff spot but it’s worth a shot.

      Two players they should look into are Rackell and Henrique from ANA.

      Foligno and Dubinsky from CLB would be worth looking into as well. Dubinsky for LTIR purposes.

    • So Frank , why would the Penguins a team rising in the standings trade their #1 young goalie Tristan Jarry , an all-star last season with an affordable contract ?

  3. Devils should be wide open for business (including Palms). Any pending FA is available. They are not winning with them so see if you can get some pieces for the future…

  4. Holland is looking for a top 6 guy and Tatar’s name is mentioned. Seriously?

    Oilers only have 2 players that are a cap wash, James Neal and Darnell Nurse.

    One is an anchor and the other is an overpay that Holland would never make even though he might like Tatar.

    Habs would love it of course as Bergevin is looking for a minute muncher LD since Chariot is out with a broken hand while Mete fills in.

    TBH I’d expect this silly suggestion to come out of a Montreal tabloid and not out of Edmonton.

    • Holland should consider Nurse to NJ for Palmierri and Butcher with some retained to make cap work.

      • Darnell Nurse will not be traded out of Edmonton this season.

  5. If Boston can use additional scoring….Domi from CMB for a propsect and 2nd?

  6. The bruins are loaded with deadline cap space and have young assets that are in the lineup now that they could move to acquire big help. The pieces AND money are there Spec. So explain how they can’t get those big guns?

    • That trade deadline cap space of $5.6 million is flexible, could go up or down. Furthermore, there have limited tradeable assets.

      DeBrusk? Perhaps, but they risk selling low because of his struggles this season. Bjork? Perhaps, if a rival club believes he can improve playing elsewhere. Lauzon, Studnicka, Zboril, Vaakanainen, Frederic have some potential but are any of them going to tempt a rival club into parting with “big help”? I have my doubts, especially if teams with more tradeable assets and cap space could get into the mix.

      Sweeney surprised me before with the Rick Nash trade so he could do it again. I just don’t think he’s got sufficient assets to pull it off. I’m not saying he can’t get a player, maybe two, but I’ll be very surprised if it’s any of the notable names.

      • That’s the big question Lyle, how many teams will be getting into the mix.
        I have heard rumblings of “buyers market” as so many contending teams have to do $ in $ out and an expected flat cap next season.

        At least that is the hope I am clinging too.

    • Easy. Sweeney is the incompetent gm.

  7. Paul Maurice cost the Jets another win last night. Who would put Stastny on the ice for OT, Kyle Connor was the obvious choice and we would have had a win. Hellybuyck is covering up for some horrendous coaching and a weak forecheck.

    • Checker it doesn’t matter who you put on the ice, Auston Mathews will find a way to put you guys away. There is not a player in the league who is more dangerous than Mathews, okay maybe McDavid, but what I’m saying is even if you combine your top 4 best players is not equal to Auston Mathews. That is why you don’t need to whine about coaching or contemplate about could of would of should of. McDavid will destroy your team in the playoffs, and of course Mathews will destroy Edmonton. Go Leafs Go!

      • Totally agree!! Mathews will DESTROY any opposing team come playoff time!!!

        Nothing and nobody can stop Mathews, he will crush any opponent!!

        Like he did to Washington…. and the Bruins…… and the Bluejackets.

        Oh wait a minute!!!

      • Lord help me to understand why it’s always leaf fans that act like Mike? It’s flippin embarrassing as a fellow leaf fan

      • @FD … I understand as a fan the disheartening experience of hearing, watching or reading someone represent your team with a complete detachment from reality but it’s not a Leafs thing. I’m a Habs fan. We have our share of lunatics and more than our share of guys who think they know but keep trying to eat with their feet.

    • Jets desperately need some defencemen

  8. Sweeney won’t do anything the bruins most likely will end up with someone Matt belesky or Jimmy Hayesi Sweeney Couldn’t pull off a good deal if it was handed to him. Right now he’s in his comfort zone drowning his sorrows in bottle of bud high atop the TD building in beautiful downtown Boston.

    • R.W.M.

      Sweeney and Neely will bring in a LD and a winger but both won’t be with the team next year

  9. If Dubas hasn’t acquired a goalie by 1 week before deadline, he should be fired and the Assistant GM told to get one if he wants to keep his job. Everything else is just nibbling around the edges.

    • Campbell

  10. Toronto outshot Winnipeg 41-24 last night, barely squeaked out a win, and the soft goal king let in a cheap goal with 2;00 minutes remaining, to send it to overtime,,,
    There are goalies out there, Arizona, but they are in the playoff chase.. Columbus has 2 reliable goalies, I am sure there are more, I don’t have my thinking cap on.. IT’S A “MUST’ if they want to be successful, come playoff time !
    I am surprised at the standings, Carolina is overachieving and Colorado is underachieving..

    • The 3rd goal was a soft/cheap goal?
      It was a deflection from the high slot.
      Anderson had no chance on it.

      • Winnipeg’s goaltender absolutely robbed Nylander, in particularly various occasions !
        He knows how to position himself , where Anderson , I am sorry , he’s not the guy for Toronto …:

    • Ken, i don’t think you can blame Anderson for the tying goal. That kind of goal is not fault of a goalies inability, more so of bad luck as it changed direction on its way in. Anderson will remain a leaf until the end of the season. They need to replace Dermott with a real NHL defenseman or give Sandin a look. At least Sandin has IQ to make right plays under pressure. Again, TO will win the CUP this year even with Anderson’s short coming, all thanks to our American Born Savior as Chrisms pointed out above. Go Leafs Go!

    • Carolina is achieving exactly what they should be, I would hardly call it overachieving.

    • If any team might be overachieving, based on before-season expectations, I’d say Florida is overachieving. How many teams can flush out 3 top six forwards for cap savings and become even better in the process? (I’m including Trocheck along with Hoffman and Dadonov.

      • Augustus….hmmm…Let me remind you of $2.5 million dollars signing of RADKO GUDAS. He is the difference in Panthers lineup. Oh I dreamed of GUDAS wearing blue and white, but no…no one listens to me…Gudas and Edmunson was the answer to the Leafs blueline ailment.. combined 6mill per…. for 3 years. Dubas had a chance to sign both of them last year.

      • Yawn , Yawn – Bruin Music Again …

    • I wouldn’t say Carolina is over achieving. They have a great core of excellent players just coming into age. And an excellent coach. They have been consistently improving since bill peters left. They are a team that is a goalie and a veteran piece away from being legit cup contenders for the next few years.

  11. Ducks fan here…. if Rakell was made available, what would you guys think would be a fair trade price for him, given our teams woeful situation? We have a great goaltender and some promising prospects that won’t be moved, but the rest of the team probably won’t be. Any thoughts?

    • Like Rakell just wish he had more grit to his game

  12. Good Day to trade DeBrusk & to the Oilers . stock will never be higher

  13. Lyle … great reply on the Spector’s Notes to the NBC Sports Boston Bruins

  14. So Cassidy needs to tell a player who just signed a contract for 3+ million per to get his azz in gear and play hockey ….amazing

    • Do you remember when Kasper sat Stevens AND Neely for a game? Sometimes sitting back and looking at the big picture really helps.

      With that said, I can’t stand all the line shuffling Cassidy does. He doesn’t let players form chemistry.

    • Don’t have to tell Matthews

  15. What is the deal with Matthews being American? Is this a bad thing? Please let us know?? Should we feel sorry for the fans of the Phoenix suns because their 2 time league mvp was Steve Nash? Or Dallas Mavericks, because their best player Luca Doncic is Slovenian? How bout the LA Kings. Stanley cup champs led by Anze Kopitar, another good old Slovenian kid???
    I can’t wait to see the Leafs and Matthews win the cup.
    Hvala lepo!!!

    • Sigh……..

      • This is why, FD. It isn’t you old die hards. It’s these kids and their unbridled exuberance.
        Amusing as it is. It gets old quickly. I do respect their blind passion though. Sad part is, they don’t even spell the players names correctly, and I’m pretty sure they couldn’t tell the difference between offside and crease violation.

    • Yes Guy….Absolutely right. They are just jealous because TO has one of the deadliest sniper in NHL history. Mathews is absolutely LETHAL, he is by far the greatest LEAFs player in the history of the franchise. Please save your breath trying to argue with my assessment. Only player close to Mathews would have to be a combined players of (Gilmour/Clark/Sundin) combine those three into one package, then you may have about 80% of Mathews. I don’t care if Mathews was Swedish, Indian, Mexican, Jamaican, Korean, American or Canadian. He is definitely a LEGEND in the making. As a Leafs fan who has suffered for many years as bottom dwellers, I am GRATEFUL we got AUSTON MATHEWS as our face of the franchise. In Auston We Trust, In Auston We Believe, Auston Mathews will deliver for all the Leafs fans all over the WORLD. Go Leafs Go!

      • Curious why do you need to make to handles can’t handle the first one?

      • As far as your last statement Mike .
        U R certainly a Believer in Auston Matthews , rightfully So, I guess ..
        In order for the Leafs to Win a Cup , there will have to be a statue out front of the Air Canada Center , supporting your belief, Leaf fans can pray under ..
        Pray for a puck stopper , while U R at it !!!

      • Matthews is a great regular season perimeter player come playoffs he will disappear and I would take Clark any day over Matthews just my opinion.

      • Sock puppet.

      • Mike, Mr. Matthews has 179 goals in 307 games.

        The best pure goal scorer in the history of hockey had 241 in 307 games.

        Hint: In his final season, he scored 38 goals in 63 games. The only time in his career that he failed to reach the 50 goal mark.