Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 14, 2021

by | Mar 14, 2021 | Rumors | 72 comments

The latest on Mattias Ekholm, Rickard Rakell and Elvis Merzlikins plus updates on the Stars, Islanders and more in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

THE ATHLETIC: Pierre LeBrun on Friday suggested some trade fits for six playoff contenders. Among his proposals were Nashville Predators defenseman Mattia Ekholm to the Boston Bruins or Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell to the Toronto Maple Leafs and Calgary Flames backup David Rittich to the Washington Capitals if the Flames fall out of playoff contention by the April 12 trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Ekholm would be a good fit with the Bruins as they need an experienced left-side defenseman but their anemic secondary scoring is their priority. LeBrun’s colleague Murat Ates believes Columbus’ David Savard would be the ideal addition in Winnipeg but Ekholm would do if Savard isn’t obtainable.

Anaheim Ducks winger Rickard Rakell (NHL Images).

Rakell has a year left on his contract with a $3.79 million cap hit. LeBrun suggests he’d be a worthwhile replacement for Zach Hyman if the Leafs fail to re-sign him. I agree with LeBrun that he’d be a step up talent-wise over the Predators Mikael Granlund, who’s been linked to Toronto for some time. Granlund wouldn’t cost as many assets as Rakell but the latter would be a better option if the Leafs are all-in this year.

Rittich is due to become an unrestricted free agent this summer. If the Flames falter then he could become expendable at the deadline.

THE ATHLETIC: Arthur Staple believes the New York Islanders could seek a top-six forward such as Buffalo’s Taylor Hall or New Jersey’s Kyle Palmieri if captain Anders Lee remains sidelined indefinitely with a lower-body injury. Placing Lee ($7 million annual average value) on long-term injury reserve would provide some salary-cap relief to make a significant addition if they wish. More affordable rental options could include Mikael Granlund, Columbus’ Nick Foligno or Vancouver’s Tanner Pearson.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We don’t know how long Lee will be out or which players the notoriously secretive Lou Lamoriello might pursue. Nevertheless, the Isles GM could be active in the trade market if Lee is out until the playoffs.

THE DALLAS MORNING NEWS: In a recent mailbag segment, Matthew DeFranks speculated the Stars would become sellers if they don’t improve over the next two-to-three weeks. The most obvious trade candidates are players on expiring contracts such as Andrew Cogliano, Blake Comeau and Jamie Oleksiak. He doubts they’ll fetch much, “maybe a mid-round pick”.

DeFranks also wondered if the Stars would trade Anton Khudobin rather than risk losing the goaltender to the Seattle Kraken in this summer’s expansion draft. He also mused about trading John Klingberg. While the defenseman would fetch “a sizeable package of picks and prospects,” it would also significantly hurt the Stars’ chances of chasing the Stanley Cup in the final (somewhat) productive years of Jamie Benn, Tyler Seguin, Alexander Radulov, Joe Pavelski and Ben Bishop.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: I doubt the Stars moving Klingberg at the trade deadline but I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of a Khudobin trade for the right offer. However, they could wait until the offseason and shop him before the expansion draft.

THE ATHLETIC: Allan Mitchell took note of colleagues Craig Custance and Eric Duhatschek recently adding Elvis Merzlikins to their trade deadline board. He pondered the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers pursuing the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, suggesting a package involving Mikko Koskinen and defenseman Caleb Jones.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jackets could consider moving Merzlikins for the right price but I don’t think they’re in any rush to do so. He won’t become eligible for UFA status until next summer so they’ve got plenty of time to field offers if they want to go that route.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman report Anaheim Ducks forward Troy Terry “might be up for a change of scenery.” He said he’s hearing conversations about whether or not he might be moved.


  1. trade DeBrush & whatever it takes to the Oilers for Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (UFA) go get Ekholm ….wake up Sweeney/Neely you’re falling out of the playoffs

    • Dream on Joe. RNH won’t be going anywhere and certainly not for DeBrusk. RNH is arguably Edmonton’s 3rd best asset.

      • Probably right but that YFA is looking me in the eye

      • UFA

  2. Who are these media clowns?

    They clearly don’t watch the Leafs or they would only comment about their desperate situation in goal. Khodobin, Merzlikins anyone please.

    • When the Leafs aren’t at the top of their game. It’s yet to happen that Andersen steals a game.

    • Any interest in Jake Allen? What would it take and Andersen isn’t part of the return. We can dump him to some other team.

      • Raging, at this point I’d be interested in Cesare Maniago i think.

    • Gorgiev?

    • Wendel, Hold on a minute. What happened to Mikko the worlds best D-Man who was lured here by the smartest GM in the game?
      Didn’t you say that he was the next best thing?

      And a few months later he’s history?

      Please explain.

      • Don’t wake a troll and his merry men of puppets.

  3. They could have Sami Niku and a 2nd rounder for Eckholm, I realize that may not get it done but I wouldn’t part with a 1st.

    • You’re likely not getting Ekholm without giving up a 1st round pick.
      He’s a top 4 defenceman. If the cost is Sami Niku and a 1st you make that trade all day long.

      Niku was a 7th round pick in 2015. There’s a reason he’s not a full time NHL defenceman.

  4. Oilers won’t trade RNH but he may sign to highest bidder when season ends. Bruins need to get healthy and put peddle to the metal not good enough to coast.

    • Edmonton should be all in this year as well with their two mega stars.

      Boston can add RNH in Krejci spot in the summer but they will have a bidding war for the one prime time center on the market

      One wonders if Edmonton decides to move him knowing they cannot resign….

      • Not if they add something else and think they can go deep in the playoffs. Which they might very well do. For all their so-called “trouble spots” they’re not that far the Division lead, and trading Nugent-Hopkins would send the wrong message to the rest of the team. Holland has lots of time to get creative before the UFA season.

      • @George
        they have to be all in however do you see the beating the Leafs or Jets in a 7 game series?

      • ds, it depends on what – or if – Holland can add at the trade deadline. I say “if” because he doesn’t have a whole lot of wiggle room under the cap. Which is why, if they’re seeking D help, the name Nugent-Hopkins keeps popping up in the press due to his pending UFA status, Yes, clearing out his cap hit would make it easier to add someone of quality … but to me that’s Robbing Peter To Pay Paul.

        He plays well in playoff hockey – and you know neither McDavid or Draisaitl are going to disappear – so they need all three functioning.

        The ideal move would be Neal and his $5,750,000 cap hit … but with 2 more years after this that becomes problematic.

        But, hey, if any team is going to beat the Oilers in a series they’d better have a couple of reliable defensive types (like old Claude “Joe” Provost did to Bobby Hull way back) to shut down McDavid and Draisaitl.

  5. One of the worst games all year! I’d gut this club they obviously don’t seem to care about the urgency here. If Sweeney doesn’t pull off a few blockbusters here I guess he doesn’t care much either. Almost every other clubs has done deals Sweeney’s still in his comfort zone. I wish they’d fire that idiot and take Lurch up in the front office with him! What a mess!

    • Leafs need a shakeup ..
      I can see a second exit , if they don’t ….
      Dubais should be on the hot seat , before, or if this happens
      Columbus and Nashville could be the trading partner …
      Ekholm, Savard,,Elvis , 2 of the three mentioned ..
      Please , not Rakell -streaky floater
      Anderson has definitely lost his confidence , needs a different place of scenery..
      I cannot believe Reimer is going well in Carolina , there is a perfect example …
      Reimer had to go , as does Anderson , if not the consequences are HUGE!

      • Andersen has really stood out the last series with the Jets. Unfortunately not for his play. Hellebuyck made him look less then avarege.

  6. Panarin makes a huge difference for the Rangers.

  7. Realistically what does Boston have to offer in a trade?

    2 goal Debrusk? Unwanted Wagner? Cliffy Hockey Clifton?

    Yes Debrusk still had value, add Vakalanein, Zboril, Lauzon, Frederick, Studnicka and Halak and draft picks.

    That is your list that brings back value.

    Top line is being moved, neither is Coyle or Smith.

    McAvoy, Carlo and Grizz are staying put.

    It’s nice to want things and the nicer they are the more they cost.

    • Caper if they can upgrade Coyle & Smith in a package with others why wouldn’t you trade them ….. McAvoy stays but Carlo & Grizz again in a upgrade why not ….. to you what would a Carlo & DeBrusk for Nurse look like

      • Carlo and debrusk. For Nurse. Please. Both are better then Nurse. Even though Jake is having a real poor season this year Best to pkg Debrusk to get Rakell from ducks. Sooner the better

      • Wow, if I’m Holland I’d do that in a second … Nurse is a yo-yo, up & down … great one game, horrible the next … Bruins need a shake up but I don’t think I do that …

      • Hi Joe, I dont think Smith and Coyle as a third line is a bad thing.

        Coyle has not been consistent but when he decides to play, he protects the puck well, has good speed and will drive the net.

        Carlo isn’t being moved his is a solid shut down dman with size who skates very well.

        Edmonton isn’t moving Nurse and not for that package. I dont like that deal for either side.

        Carlo isn’t the issue and by adding Debrusk, not much left to trade to get offense.

        For me Boston weakness is 2nd and 4th line and a LD man.

        I be happy if Wagner and Clifton didn’t play anymore.

        Wagner doesn’t hit anymore, no speed, no impact basically a waste of a spot.

        Clifton has turnovers like he is giving candy out on Halloween.

        With Miller and Carlo hopefully coming back soon and then Lauzon, im not as concerned about the D.

        The fourth line need to bring energy and grit but they’re not.

        Second line, well we don’t have one.

        Wait until closer to the trade deadline, who is in and who is out of the playoff picture.

        Hopefully Debrusk will have found his heart and courage to be the player he can be.

        Maybe thay guy name Kase or something like that comes back in bubble wrap and duct tape and offers a little more then an injury.

        Boston has 14 games left against Buff, NJ and the Rangers they need more then most of them games; unfortunately all games will be close unless the intensity and goal scoring picks up.

        That’s my rant.

    • With the Rangers not close to being a contender right now could the Bruins call about Strome? i hope Buchnevich does not get moved as he is just in his prime.

      but the only asset the Rangers would want is Studn who i am not that sold on yet either

      • I’d take that kid Frederic. Love his game.

    • It’s Sweeney’s mess he has to clean it up. 1st rounder if that’s what it takes

    • Oh Cappy sometimes it takes more than the normal roster players to make deal.

  8. Yawn, Yawn -Bruins music Again ..Not even realistic trade scenarios
    Pie in the sky

    • Don’t like it don’t read, why do some of you peeps feel the need

      • Indeed. Sometimes you got cravings to feed. Got to heed the greed. With spector you know you’ll succeed!

      • Attention everyone (read Chrisms) “Don’t take the brown acid”

  9. Rakell and Ekholm are good players reasonably priced . The whole league will be interested.

  10. “He pondered the possibility of the Edmonton Oilers pursuing the Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender, suggesting a package involving Mikko Koskinen and defenseman Caleb Jones.”

    Oilers make that trade in a heartbeat.

  11. Was listening to sports radio yesterday and one of the gentlemen was talking about Buffalo.
    He said in no uncertain terms should the Sabres ever trade Eichel. The more logical choice would be Dahlin.
    I totally agree with that statement. #1 centres are hard to find especially when you get one as good as Eichel.
    Buffalo would get a very good return for Dahlin and the draft this year is supposed to have some very good defensemen.
    Don’t know what the return would be for Dahlin but I would suspect it could be a 1st + 2nd + player and a prospect
    Maybe 2 first rounders and a player and prospect.
    Would be curious to hear what the Buffalo fans have to say.

    • I’m not a Buffalo fan, but I’d never trade Dahlin. He’s unbelievable. Ralph simply isn’t deploying him properly this season.
      I also wouldn’t trade Eichel unless the return was too good to turn down.

  12. If Khudobin is available the Leafs need to call Jim Nill and make it happen.
    You cannot win in the playoffs with a goalie with a save percentage of .899%.

    WPG has a nice group of forwards and Hellebuyck is lights out but they’re thin on D. Chevy should be all in on the best available D. If Ekholm and Savard isn’t at the top of his list he’s not paying attention.

    • Daryl, Khudobin is a journeyman goaltender who came to fame last year‘s playoffs because he got hot at the right time. And, that only happened because of Bishop’s injury. Toronto going after him versus what they have is just moving pieces on the board. I do however believe Dallas should move him so they can protect Bishop In the expansion draft

  13. Maybe Edmonton sends RNH and a 1st to Buffalo for Dahlin.
    I will be honest I haven’t watched a lot of Sabres games so I cannot say with certainty what would be a fair trade for Dahlin

    • Why would BUF trade a star young defencenan for a pending UFA and a low first round pick?

      BUF has a need for Defence and goaltending. They’ve got a decent selection of forwards. They also need to realize they’re in a professional sports league and MUST spend money on proper scouting.

      • What would be a fair trade for Dahlin?

      • Cale Makar? Charlie McAvoy? Quinn Hughes? Strome and DeAngelo?

      • Strome and DeAngelo! I love it.

  14. FlameFan

    I think you need to ask yourself WHY the Sabres would even entertain the idea of trading Dahlin. I don’t think BUF can win or break even on that trade?

    Three of the hardest things to find in the NHL are #1C, #1D, and #1 G.

    Ask yourself which of these BUF is missing.

    BUF needs proper management. They’ve had a succession of new GMs and poor coaches. The problem starts at the top. What business does Kim Pegula have being the President of a hockey team?
    They need a proper hockey person to run the team. An experienced GM assemble the team and pick his coach. They’ve stripped their scouting department to bare bones.

    • Truth!
      I bet Ralph moves up to the presidents role before the season ends.
      Then, if he’s as intelligent as I think he is, he fills in all of the voids that you mentioned, Daryl.

      • SOP, now that makes sense.
        Will it happen? Nope.

    • Daryl,

      Very good response, I agree whole heartily with having a #1 center, dman and goalie. Buffalo seem to have 2 out of 3. Good pieces to build on.
      Poor management is the root cause of most failing sports teams

  15. Jack Johnson on waivers. Line forms to the right. Would look good on Pengy’s 2nd favorite team. Leafs

  16. Ekholm might be available but not for a 1st, he’s a 30y/o UFA though affordable.

    Being a top 4 D they need somebody serviceable in return and either a lower pick or prospect.

    I’d throw my hat into the ring for that type of deal considering the loss of Chiarot with a broken hand.

    • Ekholm is not a UFA. He’s signed for this year and next at $3.75M.
      He’s 6’4” and 215lbs. He plays top 4 minutes in all situations. You’re damn right he’s worth a 1st round pick.
      Especially considering MTL recent 1st round draft record

      • Ekholm gets the Muzzin package: a 1st an NHL ready prospect and a 2nd rnd or equivalent prospect.

    • Montreal’s last two first round picks weren’t bad (Caufield and Guehle). Poehling’s a dud (4th liner, at best), but KK will be a star.
      Still, I WOULD take Ekholm, for a 1st

  17. Bruins…. as a Pens fan…. Sweeney.. I say stand pat good sir… no trades please (and thanks)

    All the talk re teams improving in net… were it not for the injury this week… I think Keumper should have been number one target on many teams’ lists. He was keeping Yotes afloat and I think Yotes should be realizing right now that their only shot at playoffs is catching Wild, and that is IMVHO , far fetched

    Leafs… per Captain Obvious …. you need to show up to win. How can they play so well against the spectacular CB in net and then fail to muster an effort against a goalie that they should have relative ease at getting through

    Leafs do NOT need to trade for a top 6 forward. Leafs needs lie from the blue-line and back (D & G)

    For all teams looking at a D improvement for the playoffs… wait no more… to all GMs not named Dubas or Hextall…. I would like to bring to your attention….Gorton has made a monumental blunder…. the current Norris fav is on waivers…. JJ is available. As a Leafs and Pens fan; I urge all other GMs in the East and North Divs to take notice of this Golden opportunity

    Well earned win Jets; Strong showing; certainly a chance at the semis….

    Unless there is a major injury to CB… set in G
    Forwards looking good
    Grit… check
    D… only real place to IMHO needed for a move …. what is Ekholm going to cost? All in, all in? Assuming Little LTIR for season…. would Chevy go after both Ekholm AND Savard? Would have to be a gov’t reduction in the 14 day quarantine AND retention on Savard at least

    The all in all in (both Ekholm and Savard) …, costs a first OR Perfetti and at least one of their two first round Finns

    Just a side note/realization…, top 3 NHL teams (points percentage) , are in the Central

    I don’t think I’m alone in saying that Panthers at .741 at the 1/2 way point of the season was in the realm of credible prognostications at year start


    • CH (Connor Hellebuyck) not CB…. doh!

    • “ was in the realm ”


      “ was NOT in the realm “

      Double Doh 💩😡🤬

    • Pengy

      Agreed on all fronts.

      Chevy needs to address his D corps…that’s it. With CH playing lights out and their forward group he needs to be all in.
      Their 1st round pick this year will likely be 20-31overall.

      CLB needs a C but they’re not getting one from WPG. Not sure if CLB was expecting such an off year so Savard may not have been available when the Laine-Dubois trade was made?

      Would you do Perfetti for Savard and a 2nd?

      NSH needs scoring. It’s been said they’d like a young D back as well.

      Would you do Ehlers, Niku for Ekholm and Forsberg?

      • Hi Daryl


        Perfetti for Savard and a 2nd

        Savard is a very good D that is playing well below his usual standards this year; and is UFA; that deal to me is tilted in Jackets favour

        Add to that the current 14 day quarantine…,

        Savard for a 2nd might be more appropriate; but to outbid others…. 2nd and a B prospect


        “NSH needs scoring. It’s been said they’d like a young D back as well.
        Would you do Ehlers, Niku for Ekholm and Forsberg”

        I can’t see that offer coming… Nash is unlikely as at now; to make the playoffs this year; a Forsberg move is likely off season if at all

        If he were in play, Chevy would need to kick it much more than Ehlers /Niku for Forsberg/Ekholm

        I think Chevy should go after Savard now (costs nothing off roster); he could be playing for Jets in 2 weeks ; giving them 2 weeks then to see what the addition brings; before any further move at TDL

        Jets IMHO, can make semis; but I can’t as at now; see them getting by Bolts or Knights; and Jets would need to beat at least one of them to win the cup

        Ekholm …. I think there just might be a bidding war

      • If the Jets can add Savard and Ekholm and even Forsberg, and only lose Ehlers and Niku from the roster, you may as well pencil them in to win it all. They play heavy, heavy hockey in Winnipeg. Loads of offense even without Ehlers, and the best goaltender in the league. I like Cole Perfetti, but I’d be willing to Sacrifice him for that return. The Jets are for real, and they aren’t scared of Vegas nor Tampa.

    • Top three teams are in the central because the bottom four either suck or are undermanned because of injury.

      Overall, the way this season is set up was necessary. It also gives many teams like Edmonton, Chicago, Calgary, Montreal, Arizona, a bunch of others I have no doubt left out and yes even your Pens, a false barometer at where they really are. Besides the well documented economics in play, that is part of the reason why I don’t see there being a lot of buyers under this kind of system come playoff time. We all know about team budgets, but realistically going all in with a team that probably wouldn’t even be a playoff contender In a normal year makes no sense In the grand scheme of things.

      That BTW is not to say that Carolina and especially Florida aren’t vastly improved

      • Waddell is in the same position now as Leafs have been for a few years. His team is too good to not do what it takes to significantly upgrade their goaltending for the playoffs.

        Andersen and Reimer separated at birth.

      • Hi Shane

        I am with you to a certain extent re

        “ Top three teams are in the central because the bottom four either suck or are undermanned because of injury.”

        Those three yes feast on Detroit; but also have had to play each other and the corallery and/or counterpoint to success driven by playing weaker teams …. can be viewed as Jackets, Preds, Stars are lower in standings and showing weaker this year because they have to play against 3 strong teams in Bolts, Canes, Panthers

        I think the truth lies in between those two juxtaposed viewpoints

        To me…. Bolts are performing as expected (I have posted before that I believe they are one of the two cup favs; with Knights being the other)

        Canes were good and upcoming last year; and have kicked it into overdrive this year

        The shock to me is Panthers…. I absolutely did not see them on an 82 game pace of 121 points at the 1/2 way pole of the season

        Panthers have already beaten Bolts twice (series so far 2-1) this year and averaged 5 goals a game in those 3 games

        Panthers are 2 games a piece with Canes

        Panthers are doing this with Bobo completely collapsing and becoming a sieve in many games

        Only Leafs , Oil, and Bolts have more goals for than Panthers

        I am impressed by them this year

  18. BANG on Wendell !!
    Hutchison is between the pipes tonight !
    Another SIEVE !

    • Ottawa have Joey between two pipes. Could be really a fun time for Leafs or embarrassing???

      • 4 SHOTS – for Ottawa
        2 Goals !!
        Dubais days have to be coming to an end !!!

      • In 6 seconds!

  19. Hutch in net for a team that expects to win this year is not going to cut it.
    TML team talent is not diversified. Need some more jam in this talented line up. It allows the talent more space and can jack up a lackluster night with a big hit or ……dare I say……tussle?
    When is the love affair with Thorton going to give way to realistic appraisals? He is lost out there. This line up is too fast and he is a passenger on most nights. That line was MUCH better when he was out of the line up instead of in it. Those who disagree please watch him without the puck. Just focus on him throughout a shift and then give me your opinion. Puck possession/retention/recovery non-existent.
    Loved seeing some spice out of Keefe the other night against the Jets…..FINALLY.
    Marner is a great talent but some of the stuff he attempts simply won’t fly in the playoffs. Too many possession losses due to individual low percentage plays.
    Please, please, please get rid of Dubas if this team fails this year. His vision and that of his boss won’t cut it in playoff hockey. I don’t care how they finish the regular season. A team needs jam. Other than Simmonds who did he acquire?

    • Ironic that the Leafs need a Shanahan type of player but Shanahan the exec says no to fighting and big hits? Hmmmmmm. Can’t wait to see how his change in philosophy carries this team in the real season come spring.

      • Exactly; Dubas along with Shanahan have to drastically change their way of thinking!

  20. Mez from Columbus and Savard for Nylander and Vesey.

    Rakell from Anaheim for Dermott and 2nd Round

    Andersen/Kerfoot to Buffalo for Eric Staal & Montour




    Pick away – but, moral of the story they need to make some moves!!!

    Only looks good if Rakell resigns here.