NHL Rumor Mill – March 23, 2021

by | Mar 23, 2021 | Rumors | 73 comments

A look at some potential goalie trade bait, the obstacles facing teams in this year’s trade market plus the latest on the Hurricanes, Jets, Islanders, Penguins and more in today’s NHL Rumor Mill. 


THE HOCKEY NEWS: Matt Larkin included Florida’s Chris Driedger, Columbus’ Joonas Korpisalo and Elvis Merzlikins, Arizona’s Darcy Kuemper, Anaheim’s Ryan Miller and Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick on his list of 10 goaltenders who could get moved at the NHL trade deadline. Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier, San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk, Dallas’ Anton Khudobin and Arizona’s Antti Raanta are the others.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Driedger’s a pending unrestricted free agent but I don’t see the Panthers trading him while they’re among the top three clubs in the Discover Central Division. The same goes for Korpisalo and Merzlikins as the Jackets remain in the playoff chase. Besides, they both have a year left on their contracts so there’s no rush to move either guy at the deadline.

If the Coyotes trade Kuemper I believe that happens in the offseason when they could get a better return from a club with cap space. If Miller wanted one last shot at winning a Stanley Cup he would’ve signed with a contender instead of the Ducks. He’s happy in Anaheim and I doubt he has any intention of leaving.

Quick has two more years left on his contract worth $5.8 million. I don’t see much interest in him given the current cap situation. Even if the Kings picked up half of his cap hit he’s still a declining asset with a long injury history.

Bernier, Dubnyk and Raanta are pending UFAs and thus more likely to move. Khudobin could be intriguing to some clubs and he carries an affordable $3.33 million annual average value, but he’s 34 and that contract has two more years on it.


NHL.COM: Dan Rosen reports most NHL clubs are still trying to navigate through quarantine protocols and a flat salary cap as the April 12 trade deadline approaches. He also adds the cost of top rental players such as Buffalo’s Taylor Hall and Eric Staal and New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri could be a high draft pick and a top prospect. Those in the rumor mill with term on their contracts, such as Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg, could be more expensive.

Asking prices could be expensive for rental players such as New Jersey Devils winger Kyle Palmieri (NHL Images)

Some teams, such as the Toronto Maple Leafs and New York Islanders, are in the market to add players before the deadline. The Islanders have additional salary-cap flexibility after placing captain Anders Lee (knee injury) and his $7 million cap hit on long-term injury reserve.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any significant movement by Canadian teams could come by the end of March. If they wait until the deadline any player acquired from American franchises will be unavailable until April 27 after they’ve cleared the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people crossing the US border into Canada. That won’t leave them much time to adjust to their new teams before the playoffs open on May 11.


TSN: Frank Seravalli reports Carolina Hurricanes general manager Don Waddell said he and Dougie Hamilton’s camp have agreed to table contract extension talks until the season is over. Hamilton is in the final season of a six-year, $34.5 million contract and is slated for UFA eligibility this summer.

Waddell also said he believes his club is close to a contract extension for head coach Rod Brind’Amour. He could be willing to tinker with his roster before the trade deadline, citing a need for a right-shot defenseman and perhaps a top-nine forward.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Waddell doesn’t have to make any significant moves with his club battling for first place in the Central Division. However, he alluded to team owner Tom Dundon’s competitive nature and desire to ice the best team possible. The Hurricanes will be worth watching as the trade deadline nears. Dundon’s wish to turn them into a Stanley Cup contender could push Waddell into the market.

SPORTSNET: Ken Wiebe reports the expectation remains the Winnipeg Jets will try to add a defenseman to play on one of their top-two pairings. The best trade target remains Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm. Columbus’ David Savard could be out of the picture given the Blue Jackets’ recent rise into playoff contention in the Central Division.

Another option could be Anaheim’s Josh Manson. Like Ekholm, he has a year remaining on his contract. The asking price for Ekholm will be high while injuries have limited Manson to six games this season. Wiebe also suggests keeping an eye on Buffalo’s Rasmus Ristolainen.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets must be careful taking on a defenseman with term on his contract (Ekholm, Manson, Ristolainen) as that could complicate their expansion draft protection list for their blueline. A rental such as Savard or perhaps Vancouver’s Travis Hamonic might be the way to go here unless they work out a deal with the Seattle Kraken before the expansion draft.

NBC SPORTS BAY AREA: Alex Didion cited a report by The Athletic’s Kevin Kurz indicating Patrick Marleau would be open to a trade that sends him to a playoff contender before the April 12 deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: But are playoff contenders open to acquiring a fading winger like the 41-year-old Marleau at the trade deadline? He has just five points in 30 games this season.


THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple reports acquiring a first-line winger remains the New York Islanders’ priority. He believes Columbus’ Nick Foligno could be off the Isles’ list of targets owing to the Jackets’ recent rise in the Central standings. Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson has been sidelined a month, curtailing the Canucks’ trade options.

Sean Gentille, Rob Rossi and Josh Yohe report the Pittsburgh Penguins aren’t shopping defenseman Marcus Pettersson. Despite their left-side blueline depth, they’re reluctant to move a blueliner given the schedule and need for depth to secure a playoff spot. They also rejected a rumor linking the Penguins to Buffalo’s Sam Reinhart, citing the club’s lack of cap space and available assets to pry him away from the Sabres.

Pierre LeBrun reports Anaheim Ducks general manager Bob Murray could attempt to trade a few veteran players between now and the start of next season as he transitions his roster toward younger players. However, most of those moves might not come until the offseason. Murray admits things are quiet in the trade market due to the pandemic, the flattened salary cap, and this summer’s expansion draft.

Murray doesn’t have many rental players to shop. The Ducks GM could instead look for a hockey deal, with LeBrun suggesting winger Rickard Rakell making the most sense. Rakell is a good two-way winger with an affordable $3.78 million cap hit through next season.


  1. I want everyone to know that I’m also open to a trade to a playoff contender. I may not be high on anyone’s list but I’ve only got one less goal than Marleau has this season.

    • I think Marleau would be a good fit with the Leafs. Second time’s the charm. Reunited with Jumbo Joe. Loads of experience. What’s not to like?

      • itll probably happen–marleau with thornton–3rd line—cheap option—takes thornton off top line where he doesn’t belong anymore
        won’t be great but when they have no cap room what do you do—value village of hockey players it is lol

      • nothing to like
        he can no longer contribute

  2. As per the article up top, I didn’t realize the availability of goaltenders, that might be available .
    I mentioned Jonathan Quick in another article , Ryan Miller might flourish with an opportunity , Kuemper would be ideal , not sure on their earnings , term etc
    Pick one Dubais, Anderson is a “BUST” and Campbells health is still a “mystery”

    • I wouldn’t call Andersen a bust. The guy has been playing injured because Campbell has been out with an injury. The Leafs wouldn’t have made the playoff the last couple seasons without Andersen.

      • What did Anderson do for them in the playoffs, other than a 1st round exit , X5
        He has to go …

      • Ken, in last years play in round the Leafs were shutout in two of Columbes’s 3 wins. Can’t blame the goalie when your team doesn’t score, especially in the fifth and series clinching game. Also in one of the two Leafs wins Andersen also had a shutout.

      • ever stop to think they are just saying freddie is injured to take the heat off of his subpar play—toronto stuck with him cause auston’s best friend is named freddie–book it—

      • Im surprised more of the Toronto venom isnt directed at Johnny its not about the money Tavares.

        Andersen isnt at the top tier of goalies but its hard to win a game when your 40 million dollar superstars score zero goals 3 times in a 7 game series.

        The Shanascam is a joke.

      • The way I see it – Andersen is now a bust as far as how we view him currently.
        You did 5 years with us and what did that result in?

        Sorry, the world revolves around What have you done lately – especially in Leaf land !!

        So, your 31 and we are not committing money at that value for you.
        Want to stay and groom Campbell or someone else to split and be an emergency #1 when needed – then accept 3 million.

        If Andersen can get more then go and get it.

        The whole argument about Andersen is this contract year is a bust not him.
        Leafs have to sign Hyman over Andersen and maybe part ways with Reilly in a year.

        However, at present I see Campbell and Andersen backing him up. No chance Andersen is dealt.
        They will bring in a low value 3rd option for the playoffs – Reimer is UFA and would be a great option.

      • Has anyone not recognized his performance this year, it”s downright unacceptable

        5 goals, 16 shots, just 1 example but it’s every game.
        Leafs want to take a run at it, this year, not a chance,, with this guy…
        H e has to go… There is no way, he would of won the game the other night against Calgary, Campbell was the star of the evening…

      • Wow! What a load of crap… tunnel vision bud? First, Ron go back under your bridge. I bet you can not name 10 centermen better than Taveres. You need to learn what makes a good player great. Does your team even have a perennial almost ppg player so you can understand?

        As for Anderson not having it to take the team over the top… Uhm, let’s look at that team, k? So in all the cases where the team was “one and done,” they took every team who was clearly the better team, more battle-proven, and champs to 7 games. Those loser teams were full of under 21 year olds so I wouldn’t be so dumb as to state it was the goalie’s fault.

  3. To think that the Leafs could still have three players ages 24, 26, and 27 (Kapanen, Johnsson, and Brown) who scored 20 goals with their team if they had just left Tavares alone.

    Probably would have been able to negotiate something much more team-friendly for Matthews and Marner too without their agents staring at Tavares’ contract.


    • UR absolutely Correct!!!

    • Bingo !

    • Going on about the other guys 20 goals, while totally ignoring that Tavares is a 80 point per season guy since he came to Toronto. Stuff like THIS are why Leaf fans are mostly considered dummies.

  4. I think Halak could end up on the block. I know it was only one game but the poise Vladar showed I think he’s ready to backup Rask. But who knows if Boston even makes any moves and rightfully so as I completely agree with Sweeny comments about the trade deadline. Hopefully Pasta DK Smith Kurley did not get Covid. If so I say the season is a wash. Let the kids play and on to the off-season.

    • Bergyboyzzz,

      Halak could help almost every team and he costs peanuts, even took a pay cut to stay in Boston.

      He’s getting long in the tooth but his game hasn’t fallen off, I just wonder why he has never held on to a steady job.

      Compare his numbers to the expensive elite goalies and he’s right up there with them.

      • Personally I always felt the Habs made the wrong choice lol the only issue I have with his play is he plays the puck too much out of the crease and forces his D to react too fast with forwards bearing down on them. Outside of that he’s been excellent. It’s time for the kids to show what they got. He’s probably our best trade chip

  5. Also, if i need of back-up, Aaron Dell (Devils) might be of help.

  6. Patrick Marleau is a joke … ask Mike Sullivan & Jim Rutherford …

    • The guy who will soon have played the most games in history is a “joke” ? Ah, okay…

      • I think it’s laughable to think he can be a positive contribution and not hurt a cup contender?

  7. I think it’s safe to say that most teams who are presently contenders have been for a while. To that end they do not have the assets or cap space to play in today’s market.

    In a flat cap World, Any deal for a rental that involved 1R pick or promising prospect that did not make you the odds on favorite to win the Stanley Cup would be a GM likely sealing his own fate.

    And, the same goes for GM’s giving up multiple assets for desirable players with term. Given the number of teams that could seriously if not desperately use the services of Ekholm, he would likely already have been dealt if Poile could really get a first rounder and two quality prospects in return. Any team that has those kind of assets to relinquish for a player of his ability are not contending for anything short of the draft lottery.

    • I would argue that COL and CAR have both of what you suggest ShaneinTpa. Both are definitely contenders and have quality young players/prospects and their 1st RD picks for the next few years.

      • Ray, neither of those teams along with Tampa Bay and Vegas need to make additions to get into the playoffs or for that matter go deep in them. I’m really referring more to teams like Boston, Edmonton and Pittsburgh who with their current lineups are assured of nothing.

        Colorado could add another goaltender, but it’s very unlikely anybody that is actually available and worth the risk is better than what they already have in Grubauer.

      • Ray Neither Colorado or Carolina need to make moves to get into the playoffs if not go very deep in them. I was really referencing fringe teams more like Boston, Edmonton and Pittsburgh. The assets they have won’t yield them what they need to get much past the first round if they make the playoffs at all.

        Colorado could add a goaltender, but, it should also be mentioned that what is likely to be available to them at best is marginally better than what they have at the position and certainly not worth giving up assets for.Same goes for Carolina.

      • That’s a fair take Shanein, but I would add a #2 tender if I was COL. Bernier if it was me, or if BOS decides to move Halak. Last year they lost their 2 starters in the playoffs, have to think Sakic has some insurance this time around.

        CAR a scoring winger and depth veteran D-man as they will see some injuries on the blue line, it seems every team does in the playoffs.

        CAR needs to beat TB if they’re serious, and to your point they should be because they’re really good. TB is up against the cap, but they also get Kucherov back for the playoffs. Tough to beat.

  8. Canes have been doing it without Teravainen. When he comes back it will be like a trade line addition.
    Hamilton is on a 12 game point streak. Elevator going up

    You might be able to sneak Manson out of Anaheim.

    Flames even want to lose 2-1. They have to do something. Even if it is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  9. Hall (retained salary) & Risto to BOS
    DeBrusk & Carlo to BUFF

    That work?

    • Nah. Carlo is better than Risto, and Hall costs too much to re sign.
      Don generally deals for players with term.

    • Hall has 2 goals in 30 games this season. Debrusk has 3 goals in 21 games.

      I’m not sure what’s going on with Hall this season or if a change of scenery would help him but I wouldn’t give up Debrusk and Carlo to find out.

    • IHC Your trade make a lot sense I like it hate to part with Carlo but Ritso brings some offensive spark Carlo is better, but then again Hall is better than Debrusk..a lot better..Good call. Unfortunately by the time Sweeney makes any moves most of these players will be either be retired or confined to walkers

      • I never understand why why people are so worried about more offensive D man for the Bruins. Carlo is a big bodied shut down dman that every team would love to have, which is why he is rumored or talked about.

        MaCavoy will be the Bruins offensive stud in coming years and will soon be just like Carlson for Washington. He on pace for 50 points this year (full 82 game Schedule) and doesn’t even play First PP.

        Personally Grez, Debrusk would be the 2 guys I look to move off the roster

  10. Bjork & 1st to NJ for Palmieri Retained)?

    • Nah. A 1st for a pending UFA is too steep of a price this season.

      • Bjork & 2nd? Cap space this offseason to resign in Boston

  11. If Dubas doesn’t have a new goalie by April 1 then he is a fool and should be fired to give his replacement enough time to get one before deadline.

    Nothing else matters. They have the most talent in the league from D out.

    • The real fool is the one that hired Dubas in the first place when they could have opted for Mark Hunter.

    • Mark who? If Hunter was any good, please explain why no one has offered jobs to him… you know like the one Burkie! got in Philly?

      • You mean Pittsburgh?

    • And with whom do you make that trade and how? You cannot trade FA without bringing a goalie back and any better goalie than what Toronto has isn’t coming back one for one. In addition, the goalies that are truly available are marginally better. (See today’s piece on here on goaltenders.) everybody has leverage on Toronto because Andersen has not signed for next season

      • That is linear thinking at its finest.

        No they don’t havecto bring a goalie back in same trade. They could trade him to Chicago with a draft pick as he is only owed < 500k in pay. Give them a 4th or 5th for their trouble like dubas did with lehner last offseason. Then make a trade with picks and prospects for a good goalie with the 5m in cap space they just opened up.

    • Well, let’s see….I agree with a partial statement about Dubas….”he is a fool who should be fired”. But….”they have the most talent in the league from the D out” ? No, not even close to Tampa and Colorado…..not even close.

      • Hi Iago

        My personal take is that Leafs are 1st in the League only for their top two lines; but that’s where it ends IMVHO

        I don’t see their entire forward lines (all 4) and depth forwards; better than perhaps “somewhere in the Top 4”

        D as a whole…. somewhere in the middle , maybe high middle at best

        Gs…. let’s not go there

        As a whole 23 man squad, and coaching staff…. not close at all to Knights; Bolts; Avs; and I might add Canes. The only thing holding me back from including Panthers is (1) the unpredictability of Bobo; and (2) their performance to date just might be a short term anomaly . I’d include Blues as well as on par overall to Leafs

        Now look at the whole package (Pres; GM, coaches, players)…. and pair that with Cap space …. that drops Leafs down a few more notches in my honest rankings

        And I’m regrettably saying this as a Leaf fan (for nigh 5 1/2 decades)

        The only reason Isles aren’t included in the above is that their whole system is based on basically fielding 23 “D minded first” players whose task every game is not “to win” (score more goals than opponent) but to “not not lose” (keep less GAs than opponent’s GAs)… a tactic that is excruciating to watch…. I do not like successive 2-1; 1-0; 2-0 games….non anesthetized root canal is more favourable

        A goalers duel every now and then 👍👍👍

        Shots 21-20 at end of game with only 3 or 4 from within 15 feet of net; and 2 or 3 finding their way in after multiple pin-ball bounces… 💩😡🤬😡🤬💩

      • Wendell It’s not only about talent. It’s about heart and the will to win.
        Your Leafs have neither.

        As an Isles STH since day one and I’ve seen every game Tavares played in an Isles uniform.

        Borderline HOF player and a great representative of the game.

        But when you look at JT, do you see the fire of Towes, Marchand, Crosby or Ovie in his eyes?

        NO, you don’t. He’s not wired that way.
        He’ll put up his points and he will never embarrass you.
        But you’ll never win the Cup with him.

        All this talk about his PPG is nonsense. It’s a TEAM game

        Which team has had more success since JT went North?
        The Isles or the Leafs?

      • I grant you the first part is a possibility but unless you can pry oft injured Jonathan Quick from L.A. who has enough pedigree and playoff experience who might be available that makes such an undertaking worthwhile? I’ll wait.

      • Tavares reminds me of Mats Sundin. Pencil him in for 40/40/80. That’s good numbers for a center. Don’t expect too much come playoff time though. If he does find that fire, watch out!

    • Wendel, you have made it clear that Andersen won’t get it done for us. Do you have a legit guy we can go out and get that will be better? What would it cost? A goalie with the last name Anybody won’t be considered. What about Jake Allen for Hyman?

      • OMG – A Raging Romanian
        Where did he come from the soccer field

      • Raging, no to Hyman being moved. He is a difference maker. Think Butch Goring if you are old enough.

        The targets are:

        Either Clb goalie

        Lehner or MAF with Fed going the other way as their back up

        Kuemper currently injured and can rehab during quarantine


        Even Holtby, he has won big games, dont care about his reg season stats



        Not necessarily in that order.

        Bait: andersen, kerfoot, dermott, Amirorov, lilligren, next 2 1st rnd picks etc.

  12. If Halak does get shopped at the deadline, Colorado would make perfect sense. Grubauer is obviously the guy, he’s been playing great lately, but if he gets hurt before or during the playoffs, Halak would be the guy you want in net more than Francouz, Jonas Johansson, or whoever else they might call up.

    • Dude,

      Rask is likely gone – why would you lose Halak too ?
      No way Halak goes anywhere. Swayman coming soon.

      The goalie ending up in Colorado is Bernier.

      • Because Halak is a UFA at the end of the season – if you’re the Bruins and you don’t believe you have a legit shot at the cup this season, the least you could do is pick up a 2nd or a 3rd rounder for him, maybe a prospect, and then re-sign him in the off season.

        Also re-read where I said, “If Halak gets shopped at the deadline”.

      • Agree Augustus they will resign either Rask or Halak this off season, if they can at a reasonable price.
        I get Swayman was great in college, but he only has 7 games under his belt in pro hockey and they were against the same 2 teams over and over, and they both aren’t very good which is why Providence has such a good record.
        Vladar has gotten in his reps and deserves a shot. I like Swayman but lets wait a year (or 2) and let him prove something at the pro level before we hand him the starters job in Boston.
        Not fair to him either.

        I’m all for moving Halak as an option if you get a decent return. As well as COL, the Leafs are in a different division this year, see what they will pay.

  13. Ron Moore:

    Centers that are better or provide better dollar value than Johhny Tavares:

    1) McDavid
    2) Matthews
    3) Scheifele
    4) Couterier
    5) Mackinnon
    6) Hubredeau
    7) Backstrom
    8) Crosby
    9) Pettersson
    10) Draisaitl

    Outside of McDavid all make significantly less than Tavares and bring far more to the table than Jonny its not about the money Tavares.
    Name one that the Leafs wouldnt trade Tavares for one for one if given the chance ( Matthews obviously excluded).

    • Hey Ron good list but you forgot Brayden Point.

      • Forgot Malkin too.

    • They wouldn’t trade him for Coutoier who is worse , Backstrom who is worse and old or huberdeau who is worse and is a winger.

      • You dont think the Leafs would trade Tavares for Couterier?

        Selke winner, top faceoff guy, almost a point per game and the Leafs would save almost 5.5 million on the cap.

        5 million buys a lot of goalie.

        Leafs would/should do that in a heartbeat.

      • No chance. Totally different level of player.

    • Tavares is a ;HUGE; Hindrance, worse than Anderson. as they cannot fill out their lineup, with this Albatross contract…
      It’s 8 million dollars in DEAD weight, assumong Tavares is worth 3 million per year !

      • The leafs have the best roster in league and one of top quarter bottom six. So good their slush is immediately grabbed off waivers by other teams while komorovs and Byron’s can’t be given away. This team is loaded and Robertson in minors can slide into top 6 in a flash if needed. The interchangable depth at the bottom of the roster is the envy of all other GMs….and we all know they are the best top 6 in league with a D core in top third of league.

        Just a goalie is needed and they jump to cup favorites to an astute bettor.

    • Very Serious Point from Bobby Hull, I mean Ron Jull

      re – centers that are better or provide better dollar value than Tavares
      could u only count 10 names..
      Here is quiz for everybody
      ADD to this List

      • St. Patrice!

    • So….. your argument against a player is to list the best of the best?

      I’ll compare me then.

      Mr spector
      At Theresa

      And obviously I belong there n that list.

      • Exactly ,,,
        Patrice Bergeron at 11 mil and Tavares at 7 mil

        I would take Bergeron, even if these were the numbers,,,,,,

        In reality Bergeron makes 7 and Tavares makes 11…
        YIKES !!!
        How do U fill out the LINEUP !!

      • Well done Chrisms.
        I noticed I wasn’t on the list?

  14. I have no skin in the game when it comes to TML goaltending why all this fascination with Campbell?

    The venom directed to Andersen contrasts with the roses at Campbell, a 29y/o journeyman who has never been more than a backup, drafted in 2010 he has a total of 60 NHL games with a record of 27-27-6

    If you want to move Andersen you absolutely need to replace him with a starter.

    • 100% agree, habfan. Leafs are NOT trading Andersen unless they get a better starting goalie in return.
      And exactly which team is willing to do that?

  15. Anderson has to GO
    Obviously a sweetener to take him away…
    Hard to say what Dubais is thinking. although they have been supposedly scouting Jonathan Quick

  16. I’m shocked that Aleksander Barkov was not on that list of high end centers that provide better value than Tavares. The guy is a beast. And Huberdeau is a winger.