NHL Rumor Mill – March 27, 2021

by | Mar 27, 2021 | Rumors | 29 comments

In today’s NHL Rumor Mill: more moves could be in store for the Sabres, the Canadiens might not be done dealing plus the latest on the Hurricanes and Blue Jackets.


THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl reports the Buffalo Sabres are open for business after shipping Eric Staal to the Montreal Canadiens yesterday for two draft picks. The Sabres also retained part of Staal’s salary and are allowed to retain salary on two more players this season to facilitate trading pending unrestricted free agents such as Taylor Hall and Brandon Montour.

Will Taylor Hall become the next player traded by the Buffalo Sabres? (NHL Images)

Hall has a full no-movement clause. However, he has indicated his willingness to discuss trade options with general manager Kevyn Adams.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: TSN’s Darren Dreger reports Adams has spoken with multiple teams about Hall. His colleague Pierre LeBrun said he’s heard a first-round pick is part of the asking price for Hall but it could be difficult for the Sabres to find that in this buyer’s market.

Hall will draw plenty of interest if the Sabres agree to pick up half of his $8 million annual average value for this season. The same goes for Montour and his $3.85 million AAV. The asking prices for those two will be draft picks and prospects.

It’ll be interesting to see if Adams attempts to move any players carrying term on their contracts or one of his restricted free agents. Defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen fits into the former category and Sam Reinhart the latter. Both have surfaced in recent trade speculation. Those moves could be made in the offseason if Adams doesn’t receive any decent offers by the April 12 trade deadline.


SPORTSNET: Eric Engels believes Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin isn’t done dealing after parting with two draft picks for Eric Staal yesterday. Bergevin didn’t meet with the press following the announcement of Staal’s acquisition, sparking speculation he could be trying to free up more salary-cap space.

The Habs don’t have much cap space ($486,095) to add another player, including promising prospect Cole Caufield whose college season ended yesterday. Engels speculates the Habs can wait and accrue more cap space to sign him because he’s on their reserve list and there’s no deadline to put pen to paper.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Habs could use another skilled left-side defenseman. Cap Friendly indicates he’s got $2.33 million in trade deadline cap space and 12 picks in the 2021 NHL Draft to draw upon as trade bait, including 10 between rounds two and five.


NHL.COM: cites Carolina Hurricanes GM Don Waddell telling The Athletic he could consider trading one of his goaltenders. Alex Nedeljkovic and James Reimer have split the goalies duties since Petr Mrazek was sidelined earlier this season with a broken thumb. Mrazek is now close to returning to the lineup.

Waddell pointed out his club has limited salary-cap space, suggesting he could use one of his goalies as a trade chip if he decides to add to his roster before the trade deadline. He also didn’t rule out retaining all three netminders for the playoffs. Waddell suggested he’d like to add a right-shot defenseman to his blueline corps.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Teams in need of goalie depth with pending UFA right-shot defensemen include the Sabres (Brandon Montour) and Ottawa Senators (Erik Gudbranson). Reimer and Mrazek, however, are also UFAs and could be unwilling to sign with either club.

The Colorado Avalanche could still be in the market for a reliable backup for Philipp Grubauer. Greg Pateryn is a pending UFA right-shot rearguard but might not be what Waddell is looking for. I don’t see the Avs parting with any of their top-six plus they don’t have many right-shot defensemen to spare.

THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Aaron Portzline said he could see Columbus Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen attempting to acquire a center if his club remains in the playoff race. He anticipates it would be a depth center with at most a year left on his contract for a mid-to-late-round draft pick.

Portzline rules out Kekalainen being a big-game hunter at the deadline as he was two years ago. He doubts the Jackets GM will mortgage too much of the future.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Any efforts to acquire a first- or second-line center will likely take place in the offseason. That could involve shopping one of his goalies.


  1. Is Hextall calling Adams today to see if Staal is available ??

    He says it’s the thought that counts


    • get over it …

    • Pengy, I’m as mad as you that he didn’t go to the Pens.
      Staal is done and your team did well not to trade for him.

    • Eric Staal to the Pens only makes sense if Hextall is trying to build an older and slower team than he already has.

      • Bravo , Randino !!

  2. Lyle, what causes you to include Ottawa as a team needing goaltending depth? As matters now stand the have Gustavsson and Forsberg holding down the fort with rookie Kevin Mandolese in Belleville, Matt Murray on IR with an “upper body injury”, Hogberg now day-to-day, and Daccord probably out for the season with a high ankle sprain.

    If you mean someone to be available – other than the rookie – in case one of Gustavsson or Forsberg goes down, whoever that might be could be plucked off waivers again, or a pending UFA some team would like to dump for cap reasons. And unlikely anyway with Hogberg due to come off the injury list any time, and probably Murray as well before the season ends.

    Whatever the case, he won’t be anyone consequential since Dorion already has a hard decision to make with the upcoming expansion draft when he can only protect 1 goalie, and each of Murray, Daccord, Högberg, Gustavsson and Forsberg must be protected.

    Since Seattle is unlikely to bite on Murray due to his contract and less-than-stellar play, or Hogberg because he, too, didn’t show much before going down, and he likely has no intention of re-upping Forsberg, it will come down to a choice between Daccord and Gustavsson. Right now I’m betting he protects the big Swede.

    • Not protecting Gustavsson would be criminal and cause for immediate dismissal.

    • no brainer from my perspective , Dorion protects Gustavsson. Audition has been minimal but he has been proclaimed as the future netminder for a couple of years. I did like what I saw from Daccord and I like his demeanor. Just not sure this team should go with two young tenders. I was never a fan of the Murray signing.

      • fergy22, back in January Lyle’s early look at what Seattle might take in the draft included – where goalies are concerned – Khudobin from Dallas, Allen from Montreal and Holtby from Vancouver. If it transpires like that, all the Ottawa goalies (except Forsberg) will be back – meaning the Sens are stuck with Murray and his $6 mil + cap hit – unless he can find a taker.

        He’ll likely just let Hogberg test the market as a UFA – he’s an RFA with arbitration rights and I doubt he even makes a qualifying offer. I suppose, at the start, it’ll be a tandem of Murray & Gustavsson since it’ll be easier to at least start Daccord in Belleville seeing as he won’t see any more action thanks to that high ankle sprain.

      • Mads Sogaard is going to be a very good goalie in the Pros one day. Size, athleticism and compete. The big fella has all the tools. Just needs time in the trade.

  3. Dubas should be on the phone with Adam’s about one of those Defencemen. Montour, or Risto. The latter would be great.

  4. Rangers sent Skjei to Carolina last deadline. Maybe they team up again for a DeAngelo trade? Canes like their “jerks”.

    • Sorry Slick we already have plenty moving here. We can’t build houses fast enough to keep up so we won’t be trading for any 🙂

  5. Carolina is trying to add a 3rd pair right handed defenseman that can kill penalties and play a more physical game.

    Waddell tried to trade Gardiner to free up cap space and didn’t find any takers. Reimer is the goaltender that would free up enough cap space. If they pick up a right handed D then Bean or Fleury will be traded. Carolina will want to keep Bean in case they can’t sign Hamilton.

    An interesting part of the interview was Waddell’s comment that reduced revenue from playoff attendance is impacting the amount owners are willing to spend to add a player.

  6. Lyle, just a Website housekeeping note:

    I enter your site every morning and enjoy it thoroughly. I make it a habit to visit the real world (Daily NEWS link) 1st and then the RUMORS link. What happens is after reading News and comments, and going to the top of the page, and selecting the Rumors link, most (not always) The current day’s Rumors link is not there (just the previous day). I then discovered that if I exit the SpectorHockey website, and return to it the current day Rumour column is there. I discovered this when I went in chose NEWS between News and Rumors, went back and current day’s Rumors was no longer listed?

    • Perhaps it’s a caching issue?

      • Nevermind, I had inadvertently chosen the wrong category for today’s rumors. It’s fixed now.

  7. Counting today game the Bruins have 27 games remaining and 7 of them are against Buffalo; better make them 7 count.

    • Ain’t that the truth.

      • Yep

  8. Sweeney get off your good for nothing useless rump and do something for a change! Everyone else has!

    • Huh? Hardly anybody has.

      • What? Habs sabres, /Ducks Lightning,
        Lightning Sabres, / Jackets leafs,/
        Canes leafs & there’s a lot more but I just don’t want to waste any more effort on you. Don’t bother me from here on in and I won’t bother you! How does that sound?

      • Lol. Do something for the sake of the fair weather fans, Sweeney! Goodness, me. Been watching since #4 was playing, huh?

  9. IMO – Nashville , perhaps Columbus , are holding up early trading , thinking they are still contenders .

    As for Buffalo , you are not getting a first for Taylor Hall , just cut him loose , resign him in the fall , if he even wants to come back ….
    I am still “keen” on Hall going to Boston , Buffalo retains half of the cap ..
    I am hearing now St.Louis is involved …
    Whatever , make the rumour noise a reality , and get on with it ! !

    • Look unless he’s playing injured grab Hall the guy is a former hart trophy winner first rounder watched him a lot while he was with the oilers amazing speed he can bull right through you or skip around you. His play in Buffalo is actually a bonus for Boston or any other team . Buffalo’s the Siberian coal mine of hockey.

      You’re right Ken I don’t care how good Get Hall on a good team and watch him fly.

  10. Moore in Boston done for the year due to hip surgery. Thinking he may be done playing in the NHL.

  11. MTL has tons of “assets” to throw around. MB lighting cuban cigars with $100 bills. E.Staal a nice add for a third and a fifth.
    Hall @ 50% for a second, third and a low end roster player for dollars

    Any contender that can get a defence man like Savard or Ekholm will be a very tough out. Both could be difference makers

  12. Nice to see Sam Morin score his first NHL goal today. Game winner in Phillys 2-1 win over the Rangers today. One torn acl is tough enough but two?

    Congrats Sammy!!!