NHL Rumor Mill – March 20, 2021

by | Mar 20, 2021 | Rumors | 53 comments

The latest Mattias Ekholm speculation plus updates on the Hurricanes, Blackhawks, Golden Knights, and Senators in today’s NHL rumor mill.


SPORTSNET: Emily Sadler recently listed the Winnipeg Jets, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs and Philadelphia Flyers as five potential trade destinations for Mattias Ekholm. The Nashville Predators asking price for the 30-year-old defenseman is reportedly a first-round pick and two quality prospects.

Nashville Predators defenseman Mattias Ekholm (NHL Images).

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sadler’s list appeared before Leafs general manager Kyle Dubas stated his intent to pursue a top-six forward before the April 12 trade deadline. We can probably take them off this list.

The Athletic’s Adam Vingan believes the Canadiens and the Flyers have the organizational depth to meet the Predators’ asking price for Ekholm. Whether either club will make a serious bid remains to be seen.

Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin recently pointed out salary-cap constraints and the mandatory 14-day quarantine on players joining Canadian teams from American clubs as factors that could hinder his efforts in the trade market.

Flyers GM Chuck Fletcher could be reluctant to invest in a notable player with his club struggling to stay in the MassMutual East Division playoff picture. Ekholm has a year remaining on his contract and that could mess up Fletcher’s expansion draft protection list for his blueliners


CHICAGO SUN-TIMES: Ben Pope reports Blackhawks GM Stan Bowman is “actively having conversations” regarding trade possibilities with other clubs as deadline day approaches. Bowman suggested he could be a buyer and seller. He’s seeking players who can be a part of the club’s future but won’t ship out players he feels can be part of their long-term plans.

Bowman could use his salary-cap space to acquire a bad contract from another club if the return also includes valuable prospects and/or draft picks. He could shop pending unrestricted free agents such as Carl Soderberg and Mattias Janmark, a pending restricted free agent such as Lucas Wallmark, or defenseman Calvin de Haan as he’d be exposed in this summer’s expansion draft. He could also acquire a young player with term remaining on his contract, though they must be mindful they’re two contracts away from the 50-contract limit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Athletic’s Arthur Staple and Scott Powers recently discussed the possibility of the New York Islanders trading for Janmark, citing his affordable cap hit ($2.25 million), versatility and playoff experience. They also speculated that Bowman’s willingness to take on a bad contract might lead to discussions about bringing Andrew Ladd back to Chicago.


LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL: David Schoen reports the Vegas Golden Knights are unlikely to make moves before the trade deadline. They’ve made big splashes during the last two deadlines by acquiring Mark Stone and Robin Lehner but GM Kelly McCrimmon believes his club is in a different position now. He also pointed out his club has limited salary-cap space.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: With his club atop the Honda West Division, McCrimmon doesn’t have to make a move if he doesn’t want to. The Golden Knights GM could surprise us with a dollar-in, dollar-out deal. He also has defenseman Alex Pietrangelo (upper body) and his $8.8 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve but he’d have to shed salary to make room for Pietrangelo’s return.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: Luke Alexander reports Carolina Hurricanes head coach Rod Brind’Amour was asked about the possibility of Eric Staal returning to the Hurricanes via trade. “That’s a question that’s probably for further up the chain than me, but I think we know he’s an awesome person,” said Brind’Amour of his former teammate.

Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell didn’t mention Staal but pointed out his club has a little bit of salary-cap space heading toward the trade deadline but not a lot. Alexander suggests if injuries continue the Hurricanes could be interested in a veteran at the right price.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Alexander also pointed out the Hurricanes’ winning record and solid performance through the first half of the schedule. Waddell won’t be under any serious pressure to make a move if the club continues playing well.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Dalton Johnson reports San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson intends to reset his roster going forward by giving younger players more opportunities. Wilson also indicated he’s not trading his 2021 first-round pick at the trade deadline. Any decision on whether he’ll be an offseason buyer or seller will depend upon the club’s performance over the remainder of the season.

OTTAWA SUN: Bruce Garrioch reports Ottawa GM Pierre Dorion has been working the phones. However, he thinks the coming trade deadline could be a quiet one for the Senators because of teams with limited cap space and the restrictions on travel at the Canada-US border.

Garrioch speculates veteran defensemen Erik Gudbranson, Mike Reilly and Braydon Coburn could draw interest from playoff contenders. He also thinks Dorion has a decision to make with defenseman Christian Wolanin given his limited role and playing time.


  1. is there a STAND up goalie anywhere ? these floppers that hit the ice when an opponent hits the blue line are a joke. they can’t move side to side quickly, they can’t stop shots over their shoulders, if they come out to the top of their crease they are out of position like a beached whale.

    • I think Andersen is 6’4″ but he shrinks to look the size of Darren Pang when he goes down.

      I think he may actually be afraid of the puck.

      • Anderson has faced the 4th most shots against over the past 2 seasons, the guy is getting shelled from high percentage areas. The team defense is terrible….but I am sure its the goalies fault.

    • You’re referring to Tuukka Rask, no?

  2. Ekholm trade:

    Draft pick and 2nd round prospects isn’t realistic for Nashville or the trade partner.

    Nashville D is depleted with injuries so at minimum they need a serviceable D in return.

    The buyers listed are at or close to the cap so they need to send some kind of contract back.

    I’m sure there are offers being made to Poile but they don’t resemble the media projections.

  3. One thing I haven’t read much about regarding the trade deadline and the effect of the expansion draft is will gms try to hold onto futures so they have collateral to make deals with vegas to either steer them away or towards certain players?

    • Good point Chrisms. I am sure that the teams that are out of the playoff picture and some that are on the bubble will/should be looking to both make sure they don’t expose someone they don’t want to, or, as you suggested, stocking up on draft picks to trade in an effort to protect someone they have to expose that they wish to keep.

    • Seattle I meant. Derp.

    • @ CHrisms & Pengy…Have you guys heard anything on the Blackhawks and Penguins discussing a trade.

      I was checking out this podcast on March 20th there has been discussions between the two teams regarding Marcus Pettersson ..

      Blackhawks are interested, they have cap space now that Brent Seabrook is off the books and they can take on some salary now.

      No mention on who the Penguins were interested in on the Hawks roster??
      Any ideas??

      Nothing imminent just talks.

      Blackhawks who would we even want?

      Teams have traded with each other before Olli Matta

      • Hi BnG

        I had not heard anything re Chi and Pettersson

        Bowmen has said he is willing to use his cap space so maybe there was a to-through deal they were talking about

        Chi is in a playoff position so giving up a player is not a great idea for them unless there is a big improvement in the team from a trade

  4. I remember last year when the mvp discussions were flowing , many in the media and on here were critical of draisaitl winning because his plus minus and defensive play. How does that same crowd view his season this year ?
    17/32/49/+22(tops in the nhl for forwards) 57% on the draws , takes all the big ones on key pk and late in games. Playing roughly 29/33 games driving his own line with yamo and a combination of kahun and ennis mainly . Through these eyes he has taken another step and should be considered for the selke and the hart.
    Agree or disagree ? And why?

    • I don’t disagree, Craig, but another solid candidate for MVP has to be Demko who is almost single-handedly responsible for the Canucks recent surge, especially those 2 games in Ottawa where the Senators were all over them but had to settle for two 1-goal losses – one in OT and the other in a SO.

      • You dont win Hart or Vezinas trophies based on a two week hot streak George.

    • McDavid has been involved in 53% of Leon’s total pts. this season. Pat Kane is putting up points all the while dragging benders along with him. Kane gets my nonexistent vote. The Selke will be won by Stone, Bergeron, Marchand or someone of that ilk. Leon is pretty impressive, but McDavid has been very helpful in his cause. He’ll get votes and deservedly so, but I can’t see him winning those pieces of hardware.

      • Kane certainly has a strong shot , mcdavid a strong case . I don’t see Leon winning either trophy either, just stating he should be in the conversation for both . Bergeron and Marchand don’t help each other’s cause ? With pasta on the other flank ?

      • They sure do. It’s one heck of a trio.

      • With the points with and without .
        He has 49 points , so roughly 23 points without mcdavid in 33 games . 23 for mcdavid , 20 for Leon for Leon on the power play , without looking back I would guess the lion share of those together let’s say 15 leaving roughly 11 points scored at 5v5 together . Three in a row against Ottawa accounts for almost all of that . This is just rough guesstimates on the numbers without looking but it’s not far off . Mcdavid is a factor for sure , they are a force to reckon with together , but Leon had been impressive on his own. The mcdavid factor is overblown , great players , a lot of them are playing with great help also . Bergeron Marchand pasta , Mathews Marner , scheiffele wheeler , connors at times , McKinnon rantanon landeskog . On and on . Kane this year has done more for less and have no problem with him being right in the mix depending on how the year finishes he could win it , so could mcdavid , so could a handful of others if the back half goes there way

      • Yep. I still vote for Kane though. He’s pretty much doing it by himself. My intention wasn’t to discredit Leon. He’s awesome. I was just answering the questions you put forth. However, my math is sound. McDavid has been part of 53% of Leon’s total numbers. That includes 5vs5, pp and pk.

      • Selke will be won by Kopitar or Barkov imo. If Marchand or Bergeron win it ill puke.

        Stone is a solid choice but it rarely goes to wingers.

        In fact Kopitar should ne in the Hart considerations as well given what hes doing with the linemates he has. For those of you that dont know, its Brown and Iafallo.

      • You’re as biased as I am, King, but your point has incredibly sound merit. Kopitar and Barkov are phenomenal choices. Barkov just might be the best all around player in the game, and Kopitar is not real far off. I won’t puke if either of those guys win. Nor will I puke if Bergy adds to his collection.

    • Craig, If not for McDavid, you would be correct. Leon is the second best forward in the NHL.

      Consider this:
      Close your eyes and listen.

      “Grabs the puck behind his net. Flying up the ice passing defenders like they’re standing still. Splits the D and scores!!!

      Who comes to mind?
      Leon or that other guy.?

      • Draisaitl’s great but he may not be the second best in the division, let alone in the league.

  5. I doubt Dorion deals Gudbranson – by next season, if he re-signs but at a lot lower cap hit than his current $4 mil per, with the arrival of Thompson likely full-time and, possibly, Jake Sanderson right out of North Dakota – especially if they win the NCAA as expected – Gudbranson will become the new version of Borowiecki i.e., the 7th swing man D.

    Where Wolanin is concerned, and although CapFriendly currently shows him as a pending RFA with arbitration rights, apparently if isn’t in the line-up 18 more games then he could become a Group 6 UFA on July 1. Dorion could ink him to a new deal to avoid that if he thinks he has a future in Ottawa.

    Cobourn and Reilly – should anyone show ANY interest – should both be out the door in a flash.

  6. Re Knights

    I posted quite an in-depth rationale and $’s analysis on them in the morning coffee segment but to summarize high level… they are sitting good and CAN make a move and DO have space

    The 20 they have had on the NHL books all season, less the lengthy Lehner and McNabb LTIR savings already garnered…. and adding the up/down of Glass, Coghlan and Hague and sundry other call ups till now and for balance of season; and retained on Tater-Tots…. w/o any LTIR relief on Petro (he’d have to reach 10 games and 24 days)… they’ll have over $600 K in Cap to play with

    They could probably use a 3C for security

    Bowman has already said he’d pick up Cap in a to/through…. with original team picking up 50% in retention; then Chi 50% of that (25% left) … and TDL (10/4/21) leaving only 1/4 season left…. cap hit needed then (with the retentions above) at TDL is only ~ 6.25 %range (of original cap hit)

    Getzlaf …. note his choice (NMC) would cost ~ $520 K in Cap on TDL ; and if traded tomorrow… ~ $880 K in Cap…. so Getzlaf can be “afforded” (Cap wise) in the week coming up to TDL

    Zajac…. on TDL …. $320 K; ~ $610 K tomorrow… so with true projected space…. he could be acquired by mid next week

    That is w/o any Petro savings…. if Petro does get to the 24 days and 10 games…. start tacking on at least another $1.7 M in usable Cap space

    To get Getzlaf or Zajac… NJ’s 2nd to Ducks (Getzlaf) or back to NJ (for Zajac) and a prospect to Bowman for the minimal cash he is paying out in retention

    Add to Knights great outlook this year…. they have 20 of 23 under contract next year (exceptions Coghlan, Martinez, Nosek) . And $4.3 M in space…. Coghlan will be a cheap bridge; Nosek (if they re-up) won’t get a raise. Martinez won’t be back, replaced by Hague (way bigger, faster, 11 years younger; and at only $792 K vs Martinez $4M)… so basically same team or better next year, and no Cap issues

    The above ; AND still having their own 1st and 2nd this year AND a very good prospect pool in the system; and EXCEMPT from Kraken; AND one of two (with Bolts) Cup favs this year … future is very very bright for Knights

    • Wait you are suggesting Vegas is going to land Getzlaf for a 2nd round pick? Andreas Athanasiou landed Gagner and 2, 2nd round picks last year. No way Vegas lands Getzlaf, for less then their 1st and a 3rd or 4th. If a 3rd team is going to be involved you are going to throw in a prospect or another pick. If you are suggesting Chicago retain cap space and with Anaheim needing defense prospects. To Chicago 4th round pick in 2021 to retain cap, to Anahim, Vegas 1st or NJ 2nd, and either Coghlan or Whitecloud. Vegas Getzlaf. Getzlaf is not going to be traded with cap retained by two different teams for less then Andreas Athanasiou got traded for last deadline. Thats fantasy land.

  7. Chuck Fletcher’s plans??? bwa ha ha ha … Prokorov is the only one worth protecting … Flyers would be smart to be sellers but Fletcher has never been confused as being very bright … being impatient and getting rid of Hextall was a huge mistake and the Penguins tremendous gain …

  8. The Knights do not have to do anything unless there is injury. Even then depth everywhere with toughness grit speed youth and experience. On a winning streak without Pietrangelo. Have to be my cup favourite.

    A novel idea for Wilson to keep the Shark’s first. Albeit this year loaded with D. Regardless , the Sharks are hamstrung with EK

    • Yep. That “infamous”deal where Dorion “got hosed” according to some in here. Much like the Duchene deal to Columbus.

      One guy costing $8 mil off the cap to 2025-26 when he’ll be pushing 36 y/o who, so far this year, has contributed 3g 5a 8pts and is a -11 in 23gp for Nashville – who he jumped to as a UFA leaving Columbus – the other – whose main attribute as a D is his offense – costing $11.5 mil off the cap to 2026-27 when he’ll be nudging 37 y/o, who has given San Jose all of 2g 8a 10ps in 24gp and is a -3.

      $19.5 million for 5g 16a 21 pts. Meanwhile, with a couple of high draft picks now in their system, one of the principals inbolved in the Karlsson deal, Josh Norris, has almost that points himself as a rookie.

      • George Don’t forget the Pageau deal. Dorian did well getting a 1 st and 2 nd for a player who was walking away for nothing.
        An excellent return for JP and from one of the toughest GM’s to deal with.

        That’s the best trade the Isles have made since Butch Goring came to town. Pageau has been outstanding in all facets of the game and has fit the Isles style of play perfectly.

        Excellent hockey trade where both sides got what they wanted.
        Credit Dorion.

      • Oh, I didn’t forget it Bo … but I was concentrating on those two deals where everyone was bleating that “the team that gets the “star” is always the winner in a trade …: While I would have loved to have seen some way of retaining Pageau (and Mark Stone), Dorion really had no choice where either was concerned and so had to negotiate the best deals possible.

        What he got hasn’t measured up to either – yet – and indeed they may never. But there is hope down the line.

        Karlsson and Duchene, on the other hand, always had the makings of future albatross contracts had they been retained at what was offered by Dorion. That they chose to reject the offers were moments of phenomenal luck and then what he negotiated in return were elements of pure genius.

  9. A 1st and two prospects for Ekholm.

    Sweeney needs to stay clear of that deal.

    Yes Ekholm has a year left, but, by trading for him.

    If you protect him, most likely lose the dman you didn’t protect to Seattle.

    If you don’t protect him most likely lose him to Seattle.

    The two players, one is likely to be a roster Dman.

    One trade could end up depleting the D.

    Cost is to high and d isn’t Boston biggest concern.

    • Caper…Black N Gold here is it 8 forwards, 3 defenseman, 1 goalie each team can protect in the expansion draft…

      • BNG,

        Teams can protect either:
        7F, 3D and 1G- total 11


        8 skaters and 1G- total 9

      • Hi BnG

        7-3-1 or 8 Skaters (D or F) and 1 G

        Most teams in Knights expansion went 7-3-1

        Side deals for protection allowed

      • Hi Habfan30

        I swear when I typed your post wasn’t there… certainly not trying to duplicate you

        I guess I hit send just seconds after you did and yours popped up then mine

    • Caper

      MTL has a boatload of picks for this upcoming draft. They have 2 2nd round picks and three picks in rounds 3,4, and 5
      If NSH were to ask for a 1st, Poehling, and Mete for Ekholm you make that trade. Not sure how the cap numbers would work but with Chiarot out it might help. Ekholm would become MTLs 3rd best defenseman.

      For the expansion draft do you see SEA taking Weber and his contract if he’s left exposed? If not you protect Weber, Perry, Ekholm…

      • Sorry…Petry (autocorrect)

  10. In a cap constrained world a 1st and two solid prospects for and good but aging d man who will need a contract in a year smells desperate! Desperation moves rarely if at all wins a cup. If you love your team hope the don’t make trades like this until the values even out. Hope your team develops from within and signs a couple smart FAs along the way

    • Same package as leafs traded for muzzin in same situ. They made him comfortable and resigned him before he went UFA. That is the right price.

  11. Thanks habfan3p &pengy..

    Habfan30…I pros posed this Montreal Pittsburgh swap to Pengy he thought it was ok. Likes Stahl better for the Penguins..

    To Montreal LHD Marcus Pettersson 24, $4.025 million signed through 2024. Gives habs defensive depth with Chairot being out 6 to 8 weeks.

    To Pittsburgh..center/wing Paul Byron , 31 signed through 2023. He seems to have fallen out of favor in Montreal with 2, 3 young centers ahead of him..he gives Pittsburgh a speedy affordable 3rd line center.

    Money almost identical I think it benefits both teams…

    He plays center too

    Your thoughts?

    • BNG,

      I don’t see the trade as working for either team.

      Habs have a boatload of young highly touted D that cost peanuts and Pettersson costs more than Chiarot and Edmunsdon, he’d be an expensive bottom pairing.

      Byron is listed as C/Wing but he isn’t a centre, definitely not a 3C and his FO% is pretty bad in the limited number he has.

      Byron is an energy winger who can play limited minutes up and down the lineup, defensively sound with explosive speed, super on the PK.

      I don’t see either team benefiting from this trade.

      • Who? Ghule. And who else because Mete and Kulak are out of their depth and I am not seeing any internal fixes.

      • Shaun,

        Mete and Kulak would be starters in Pittsburgh.
        Romanov, Brook, Fleury, Norlinder, Harris and Struble are all ahead of Guhle on the Habs depth chart.

      • Pengy said same thing. Paul.byron seems wasted in Montreal.

      • BNG,
        Not surprised that Pengy agreed, he knows his hockey and evaluates honestly.

        I like Byron, he has a role to play and became a 20 goal scorer in Montreal but never seemed to recover from that fight with Weegar.

        His cheap contract has become expensive but most importantly he doesn’t really play the position your Penguins need filled, 3C.

    • Byron has been unclaimed on waivers twice. He has negative value.

  12. @habfan30 … I don’t care where players rank on other teams. Kulak and Mete are third line pairings on weak teams. That’s not a team measure but the measure of the players.

    If Montreal really had depth … Fleury was up … what, last year, two years ago? … and is parked in the AHL. That’s not depth. Romanov is a not in the conversation. He is already there. Time will tell if they can train all his bad habits out of him. That’s a separate debate. The rest of the names you list are on no one’s radar with only Brook and Fleury even playing on the Rocket.

    Byron for Ekholm is not out of consideration from that point. Dollars, maybe. Too many similiar parts on the team, maybe. But promising D in the pipeline? Not seeing it.

    • Shaun,
      You brought up Guhle not me, I mentioned others who are before him.

      Fleury was a starter half the year last year, and has been bumped by Romanov.

      Mete and Kulak would both be starters on most teams, I didn’t say top 4.

      Ekholm wasn’t part of the conversation at all, it was Marcus Pettersson which tells me you’re just another iteration of that troll, salut.

      • Salut.

      • You can ask Lyle if you think I’m someone else and I’ll love to see you wrong again. Just because you think the Habs or their players are better than reality, well thats only on you bud.

      • Wait, I’m Ron Moore? LOL.

        Actually, I have been on this site almost since it began, I think. I rarely post but I do occasionally

        The best part is, I was born in Mtl, in 68 and lived there 27 years. A diehard Habs fan.

        I was honestly asking the guy what we had in the pipe, given we’re bringing up X.O., and … well, you can read it yourself.

  13. With the Bruins next two games being postponed, it seems likely that they will be made up after the trade deadline. Not a bad deal to get a couple extra games out of any players that they trade for.

  14. Sick and tired of people defending Freddy Anderson
    .876 save %
    Worst goalie , other than Hutchison to play the game .
    How about that – both play for maple Leafs !
    Congratulations Dufais !!!