NHL Rumor Mill – March 13, 2021

by | Mar 13, 2021 | Rumors | 24 comments

The latest on Matt Dumba, Eric Staal, Max Domi and Jonathan Bernier, plus updates on the Sabres and Coyotes in today’s NHL rumor mill.


THE ATHLETIC (subscription required): Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek updated their NHL Trade Deadline Big Board. Several notable additions include Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba, Buffalo Sabres center Eric Staal, Anaheim Ducks defenseman Josh Manson, Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins and Arizona Coyotes goaltender Antti Raanta.

Minnesota Wild defenseman Matt Dumba (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Dumba’s on this list because of the difficulty facing the Wild in protecting him in the expansion draft. With the team playing well, however, general manager Bill Guerin could be reluctant to make a significant move that might upset team chemistry. He could wait until the offseason, perhaps around the NHL Draft, to trade Dumba before the expansion draft.

Staal’s garnered plenty of attention in the rumor mill with recent speculation tying him to the Edmonton Oilers and his former club, the Carolina Hurricanes. I consider him most likely to move among the newbies on The Athletic’s list.

Injuries have limited Manson to six games this season. Custance and Duhatschek noted there is precedent for teams to acquire an injured defenseman at the trade deadline (Sami Vatanen). However, the year he has remaining on his contract could create headaches for teams trying to protect their defensemen in this summer’s expansion draft.

The Blue Jackets’ fading playoff hopes could lead to them moving Merzlikins or Joonas Korpisalo at the deadline. With a year left on his contract at an affordable $4 million, he could be enticing for teams seeking goalie depth beyond this season.

The Coyotes could consider shopping Raanta as he’s due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. However, that’s not a certainty with starter Darcy Kuemper sidelined and the Coyotes trying to stay in the playoff chase.


WGR 550: Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman believes the Buffalo Sabres are trying to determine the value of all their players and where they fit into the club’s long-term plans. He believes GM Kevyn Adams is receiving calls and could be calling other clubs to see what the trade value is for his players.

He believes Eric Staal “will be motivated to go somewhere and play”. He expects the Sabres could get a second-round pick for him but this is a buyer’s market. Friedman also wonders if the club sees Sam Reinhart as part of their future with or without Jack Eichel. He thinks there is interest in the Sabres’ winger.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I’ll be very surprised if Staal isn’t playing elsewhere by April 12. As for Reinhart, I don’t doubt there’s plenty of interest. He’s a restricted free agent with arbitration rights but there are bound to be some teams seeking scoring with available cap space to give him a lucrative extension if the Sabres get a quality offer for him.

AZ COYOTES INSIDER: In a recent mailbag segment, Craig Morgan was asked about the recent Clayton Keller trade rumors, Morgan doesn’t believe the 22-year-old forward is high on the trade board. He has seven years left on his contract with an annual average value of $7.15 million.

Asked about what moves the Coyotes could make at this year’s trade deadline. He anticipates GM Bill Armstrong will try to ship out as many players on expiring contracts as possible in exchange for draft picks as he restocks the prospect cupboard. However, he feels Armstrong could add a player if the right opportunity presents itself.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, look for guys like Raanta, Niklas Hjalmarsson (if he waives his no-movement clause), Alex Goligoski, Derick Brassard and Jason Demers to become the Coyotes’ trade candidates.

Goligoski recently surfaced in trade speculation. The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun recently said he believes the Philadelphia Flyers have him on their list of potential targets. He’s a left-handed shot but can play either side. However, his $5.475 million AAV (with currently $2.69 million remaining to be paid) could be a sticking point.


THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline listed Max Domi in the “Available” category of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ trade tiers. He’s made very little impact since joining the Jackets in an offseason trade with Montreal. Given Domi’s struggles, however, Portzline believes they’d have to sell low and that would cement the Josh Anderson trade as one of the worst in franchise history.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some players thrive under a demanding coach like John Tortorella. Some don’t. Domi is in the latter category. Given his inconsistent play throughout his career, however, his trade value is likely at an all-time low.

MLIVE.COM: Ansar Khan believed Jonathan Bernier will draw plenty of interest around the league from contenders seeking goaltending depth. He thinks they might even get a second-round pick for the pending free agent. Moving him would weaken the Wings’ depth between the pipes but they could attempt to bring him back this summer via the UFA market.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Colorado Avalanche could be among the suitors. The Denver Post’s Mike Chambers suggested bringing him back for the playoffs. However, The Athletic’s Peter Baugh pointed out the Avs’ limited salary cap space could make it difficult for GM Joe Sakic to wheel and deal at the deadline.


  1. Can see Staal moving back to the Canes. I think it more likely the cost to the Canes could be a 3rd and a project like Morgan Geekie

  2. Put Max Domi back on the wing and watch him perform … after this season I highly doubt that Tortorella gets another chance to ruin a good team, he is finished …

    • Torts has kept him on the wing all season. That’s the problem!

  3. I thought the Leafs had fleeced Columbus , with parting of 1 of their starting goalies , moving the Finnish Orr over to Columbus , but I was wrong , they gave us the Finnish Sawchuk , in return ..
    Now , I find out reading this article , 1 of the Blue Jackets goaltenders might be available ..
    Buyers market , hopefully Boy Wonder will give this serious consideration , or an alternative to Freddy .
    Even if left unprotected , will Seattle draft him ???

    • Don’t believe everything you read. That’s the dumbest thing I’ve read so far. Elvis is exempt from the expansion draft. The only decent part of the team right now is the 1a 1b tandem at 6.8/yr.

  4. Max Domi was a fan favourite for his free wheeling style and occasional brain cramps yet played himself out of a job when he was deemed replaceable at centre.

    Centre is a hard position to fill well and frequently teams think they can repair/teach or enhance a talent eg Galchenyuk and Domi.

    Todays NHL is so structured that a special type of coach is needed to bring out the best in this type of player and Tortorella isn’t it.

    He has proven himself to be a great coach by motivating his players to sacrifice their bodies and stick to disciplined structure to reach the holy grail, creativity isn’t high on list.

    Laine and Domi are being wasted in Columbus.

    • Bergeron made some great moves in the off season , just surprised they are under performing

      • The additions that he added are performing as expected. They are 40 point players what did you expect. Toffoli and Petry are actually performing above expectations. They’re a middle team, have been for years. Adding more middle players isn’t going to make them any better.

    • Agreed with everything you said here.

  5. Alright boys… Hockey Night In Canada…my prediction for the game of the night between the almighty LEAFS and the so so Winnipeg Jets ..Victory for the God’s team out scoring the lowly Jets 5-1. Auston Mathews with another stellar night scoring a hat trick, all assisted by the magician Mitch Marner. Bring on the pathetic Senators. Go Leafs Go! Dubas should call up Sabourin from the Marlies to do his business on Brady Tkatchuk.

    • You’d think Gods team would have won a Stanley Cup ot two in the last 50 years or so.

      • Depends, which God?

      • Ron…it won’t be Cup or two…it will be 8 Cups in this decade….Go Leafs Go

    • Sorry Mike, but Sabs ain’t worth the time.

  6. Good Post Mike !
    Yawn , Yawn … oh, I am so tired – American Hockey News …

    Carolina is not overachieving
    My Mighty Ducks
    Shoreorrpark chuckiepasta

    Could be a Disney script

    • Ken…l’m lmao 😆😆😆

    • Weak game, son.

  7. Americans, Especially Bruin Die hards , will be exploring the universe for “kriptonite” to take out Auston Matthews , Super powers !

  8. Re Friedman on Staal : “ expects the Sabres could get a second-round pick for him ”

    IMHO they may get a 2nd and a prospect

    No matter what… Sabres win on this… they got Staal for Johanson …. saved cash and cap; and Johanson is on LTIR now and only had 3 points in 11 games

    Sabres weren’t getting into the playoffs with Johanson ; so no change there

    And if Stall is traded by TDL…. Sabres net (over keeping Johanson ; and taking into account escrow) over $1.6 M cash better; AND get at least a 2nd

    I can see him back with his brother Jordan but I am very hopeful that he takes over the EXACT roll his brother Jordan had from 06/07 through 11/12

    A 2nd won’t have Pens picking until 5th round…. but a “now or never” approach would necessitate it

    2nd & Laffy for ES…. will Canes outbid that?

    Sabres don’t have a single LD (other than the diminutive Bryson [total 9 NHL games]) signed for next year and Pens have a surplus at LD

    Would Adams bite on Pettersson (4 more years) Laffy (1 more year); Ruhweedel (1 more year) ; for

    Staal/Montour (both UFAs) ????


    • Pengy

      Can PIT afford to send more picks and/or prospects away? It’s my understanding the the Pens prospect pool is quite low.

      Staal would be a good fit on that team though.

      BUF is a train wreck! They’ve stripped their scouting department down to bare bones. Kevyn Adam’s should take prospects only in trades as they would likely blow it with draft picks.

    • Pengy Be careful what you wish for. I’ve seen plenty of Stall this year and he’s not going to help anybody.

      Perhaps due to the situation in Buffalo, but he has looked slow and totally disinterested.

      I would not touch him for free.

      Of course, he’ll be traded to the Isles and I’ll have to eat these words.

    • Zucker and petterson and pick for duchene.?

    Hellibuyck is NOT in Goal Tonight against the Leafs
    The hockey Gods have intervened ..
    Leafs have been fleeced 4 games in a row , 1st Demko , now -Hellobuyck ..
    The Soft Goal King will stand Tall again tonight – normal “weak “ performance

  10. I might be wrong but I’m not… Bruins are as close to being out of the playoffs as they are to 3rd place … this team seems to show up for games when they feel like it