Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 21, 2021

by | Mar 21, 2021 | Rumors | 58 comments

Analysis of the Canadian NHL teams before the trade deadline plus the latest on P.K. Subban, Conor Garland and Marcus Sorensen in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.


SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Vancouver Canucks have decided to hold off on becoming sellers now that they’ve climbed back into the Scotia North Division playoff race. They want to see how things play out and as a result has slowed things down in the trade market. The Columbus Blue Jackets are another club holding off after battling back into the postseason.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers aren’t buying into the Canucks’ recent improvement and believe they should remain sellers at the deadline. Still, management can’t be faulted for wanting to see if they can make a serious run for a postseason berth. If they falter over the next two weeks it won’t hurt their status as sellers, especially among other Canadian teams as none of their players would have to undergo quarantine if traded within Canada.

Chris Johnston believed it could be a quiet trade deadline for the Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames. GM Ken Holland may be reluctant to trade draft picks this year plus they have limited cap space. The Flames, meanwhile, would like to add some forward depth but may have made their big move by bringing back Darryl Sutter as head coach.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: If Holland does make a move it’ll likely be a dollar-in, dollar-out trade. Given that constraint, he could find it difficult bringing in a player who significantly improves the Oilers’ depth. The Flames, meanwhile, are reportedly seeking a right-shot right-winger. They might have to consider an affordable rental like Detroit’s Bobby Ryan.

Johnston considers the Winnipeg Jets the wild card among Canadian teams heading toward the trade deadline. They’ve already acquired Pierre-Luc Dubois and are looking for a defenseman but they must consider if they want to put that player through a 14-day quarantine as Dubois had to endure before joining their roster.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cheveldayoff hasn’t ruled out taking another swing in the trade market. The Jets have been linked to Nashville’s Mattias Ekholm and Columbus’ David Savard.

The Athletic’s Murat Ates believes Cheveldayoff won’t wait until deadline day to make his move because they’re using long-term injury reserve space on Bryan Little. That $2.8 million in cap relief doesn’t prorate and won’t increase as the season goes on.

Friedman believes the amount of interest in the Ottawa Senators’ pending UFAs will determine how busy they are at the deadline. While Montreal Canadiens GM Marc Bergevin has hinted he might not be busy in the trade market because of salary-cap constraints, Friedman points out he’s been unafraid to make big moves and not everyone is convinced he won’t do anything.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The notable Senators UFAs include defensemen Braydon Coburn, Erik Gudbranson and Mike Reilly.

What will Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas do at the 2021 Trade Deadline? (

Friedman pointed out Bergevin has tradeable assets. He has 11 picks in rounds two through five of this year’s draft. Players like Tomas Tatar, Artturi Lehkonen, Paul Byron, Joel Armia and Victor Mete have surfaced in trade speculation. If Bergevin or his fellow Canadian GMs make a move for a player on an American club it’ll likely happen within the next 10 days. The 14-day quarantine means a player acquired at the April 12 deadline won’t be available until April 27.

While Toronto Maple Leafs GM Kyle Dubas is seeking a forward, Johnston doesn’t rule out the possibility he’ll acquire a defenseman. He acknowledged the Leafs have limited cap-space resources and he’s heard them linked to a couple of blueliners. Friedman notes there were questions if the Leafs will do anything in goal given how things are going with starter Frederik Andersen. However, he thinks they’ll stick with what they’ve got.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: It’s tricky enough for the Leafs to add a forward. It could get more complicated trying to also bring in a defenseman or a goaltender. Given their cap constraints, it appears they can only suitably address one need unless Dubas and his capologist have a trick or two up their sleeves.

Blueliners believed to be available include Ekholm, Savard, Anaheim’s Josh Manson (currently sidelined), Buffalo’s Brandon Montour and Colin Miller, and Arizona’s Alex Goligoski and Niklas Hjalmarsson (who has a full no-movement clause).

As for goaltenders, rental options include Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier (currently sidelined), San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk and Arizona’s Antti Raanta. If Dubas feels the need to bring in a long-term replacement for Andersen (who’s a UFA this summer) I don’t see him addressing that need until the offseason.


NEW YORK POST: Larry Brooks points out P.K. Subban is having a pretty good season with the New Jersey Devils. Subban has a year remaining on his contract with a cap hit of $9 million. Brooks suggests he’d be a good option for clubs seeking a right-side defenseman if the Devils agreed to pick up half of his cap hit.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: That move could take place in the offseason if at all. Subban’s stock tumbled over the last couple of years. He’ll need another solid effort with the Devils to convince clubs he’d be worth pursuing. Besides, the Devils could be content to let him play out the final year of his contract and evaluate his value as a rental player next season.

SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports teams have shown an interest in Arizona Coyotes winger Conor Garland. He doesn’t believe it’s a move the Coyotes want to do but perhaps they’d consider it for the right price if it allows them to restock.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: On one hand, it makes no sense for the offensively anemic Coyotes to trade their leading scorer. On the other, we don’t know what first-year GM Bill Armstrong has in store for his club so we can’t dismiss trading Garland at the deadline unless Armstrong shoots it down.

Chris Johnston reports San Jose Sharks forward Marcus Sorensen has drawn some interest from Canadian teams. He’s a UFA this summer with an affordable $1.5 million cap hit this season. Johnston believes he’ll be moved at the trade deadline.


  1. Sweeney as usual feverishly working the phones & as usual nothing ever gets done

    • You do realize there are 30 other teams in the league, correct? And Boston’s prospect pool is pretty bare, so how do they make a big splash? unless they deal McAvoy, which that ain’t happening

      • Jason, just zone him out. ALL he does is complain about Sweeney and Bruins management. Other than, over rated Taylor Hall, he doesn’t even mention a player he thinks they should try for. His drivel is just repetitive and almost humorous.

    • The B’s should be sellers. They unfortunately aren’t going anywhere. Make more space for next season and beyond.

  2. Any trade involving someone like Sorensen – i.e., from a U.S.-based team to one in Canada – would have to be with potential playoff contribution in mind since, thanks to the 14-day quarantine requirement, there won’t be much of the season itself left.

    The trade deadline is April 12 – the season ends May 8, which means the player can’t be available for games or even practices until April 27.

    I realize some are of the opinion that the 14 days is “hogwash” – test them and if negative they’re cleared to go – but then, from a political viewpoint, the provincial and federal governments would need to agree to extend that to ALL border- crossers.

    And you know that is just not going to happen what with the rapid spread of the variants (Ontario reported over 1,800 positives yesterday, the majority in the GTA and over 100 in Ottawa) all across the country.

    • I am one of those who is in the “hogwash” department but you make a compelling argument for the quarantine … with NMC’s, teams mismanaging the cap and the virus, player movement in the NHL has become almost non-existent …

      • Us Canadians certainly cannot complain about our governments being too restrictive, about Covid. A simple rule of three shows that, had the USA had our rate of mortality, they would have had around 210 000 deaths, instead of 540 000. Too bad, if it means less trades, for our hockey teams….
        Now, if we could only start VACCINATING, as well as them !!

      • Patrick, it is easy to assume! Considering California has a larger population than Canada, it is hard to say either way.

        Definitely is better to be safe than sorry. Even though hockey is life…. it still comes before actual life.

  3. Elliotte Friedman’s observations are getting harder to digest. Vancouver is ahead of the Flames but played 3 games more, they are behind the Habs and played 4 games more.not exactly promising though one can hope.

    Friedman believes the amount of interest in the Ottawa Senators’ pending UFAs will determine how busy they are at the deadline.- I’m pretty sure that the amount of interest in Gudbranson, Coburn and Reilly is known, just ask any Sens fan.

    George might pay to give them away, maybe keep Gudbranson at a HUGE discount.

    This is a young team with a huge upside that might be challenging for top spot in a few years.
    I was thinking they would surprise the pundits before signing the useless veterans.

    • You got it. Some here are trying to determine if those veteran signings/acquisitions were Dorion’s idea – or Smith’s insistence that he needed a veteran presence.

      I can’t include Coburn and Paquette in that since their acquisition from Tampa was the cost of getting rid of the contracts of Gaborik and Anders Nilsson (they did also pick up a 2nd round pick as well). I was never under any illusions about Coburn – his “best-before” date had long expired and it didn’t take long to make that evident – even to Smith. Paquette, I thought, might have some “grit” use up front but that didn’t materialize either. At least they were able to dump him, along with that other useless acquisition, Galchenyuk, and get Dzingel back – who seems to have found his game again. He might be attractive at the deadline if he keeps it up.

      Austin Watson has been OK in the “grit” role since coming over from Nashville – but he cost a 4th rounder, as did Josh Brown from Florida who I really thought was a solid addition at the time. But he, too, has struggled and is not playing much now – if at all.

      Reilly from the Habs has been just OK as well since coming in for someone named Sturtz and a 5th rounder. But the real disappointment has been Murray from Pittsburgh for Gruden and a 2nd rounder. Solidly inconsistent is the best you can say about his performance so far.

      Gudbranson from Anaheim only cost a 5th rounder and, as a 7th D down the line, could find a home here if he’s willing to re-up at around $1/5 as opposed to his current $4 mil – which I doubt he will get anywhere near from anyone else.

      The one I feel sorry for is Stepan. That might have been the best acquisition of them all as both a mentor and veteran presence – but expecting to perform when he was so far away from his wife and newborn in the midst of a global pandemic, combined with trying to form some cohesion on a team with a 50% turnover in personnel (applicable to them all I guess) was just too much. I wish him well down the line.

      Meanwhile, the kids are showing that, perhaps, they should have been used right from the get-go and are improving every time out.

      • the only player brought in to demonstrate truculence has been Gudbranson. As noted he is a 5/6/7 d man and a bit slow a foot but the guy gets scary when he is pissed off. Watson is a huge disappointment , if there was an award for the best hugger in the league he would win hands down, he can’t scrap worth a lick. Brown came in with a rep of being a tough player but the team could not afford to have both he and Gudbranson in the line up at the same time.
        Dadonov has been a bust , it is obvious why he put up the numbers in Fla….. because of his linemates.

      • Fergy22 – I believe a lot of Dadonov’s problems have more to do with the 50% roster turn-over, no training camp to speak of, or exhibition games, resulting in the inability to form any team cohesion. The way Smith juggled things around in the early going didn’t help in that regard either.

        How many teams had that much of a roster change? Any that did are down near the bottom with Ottawa. I wouldn’t just give him away for a pick or mundane prospect and right now I doubt anyone would give up much more than that. They are far better off waiting for next season and see what transpires following what will hopefully be a normal training camp/season.

      • hopefully you are right and he bounces back next year George , positionally he looks good and has good wheels but also looks small out there and very much a periphery player.

  4. Gaudreau forced to chip and chase under Sutter.
    1 point in 6 games and counting, Never agreed before but maybe it is time to trade him.

    I think Rakell is the perfect fit for the Flames. If you are doing a block buster has to be in March.

    Gaudreau and Mangipane two 3rds 2021 for Rakell, Manson and Terry

    Maybe it will be just the CAD teams slow at the deadline.

    • Silverseven, you must really be down on Gaudreau. You are virtually giving him away in that deal. I would never add Mangiapane. He is one of the few players that plays hard every night.

    • I agree Johnny does not fit Sutter’s style. Not sure if the Flames can find a way to get more from him without making a big adjustment to the plan to accommodate him. I too hate the thought of trading Gaudreau but hopefully Treliving can find an equitable trade for him and not take pennies on the dollar.

    • Manson and rackekll would be good for calgary

  5. Would Ottawa move Dadonov?

    • Habsfan
      I am with you, as far asElliot Friedman ..
      He’s full of “hot” air !
      Nothing comes out of it, what he is predicting or saying !!
      I don’t listen to what he says!!
      Dreger meanwhile , has some insight to an upcoming trade , or something in the pipe ..

      • That’s the absolute heights of foolishness. Dreger isn’t in touch. He lost his source years back. I’m not saying Friedman knows every source out there, but he’s much more in the loop than Dreger. He’s a TV personality who does a column, and radio interviews based on what he’s heard or what he thinks may happen. He is at the very least, somewhat entertaining to listen to.
        You really wanna know the best “source”? His name is Kevin Weeks.

    • Caper, they might but in that case it really depends upon the return. At this stage, with their system chock-a-block full of good prospects, they don’t need more picks and prospects. The return would need to be a solid player with term playing a position deemed “overloaded” by the trade partner but one at which Ottawa could use an extra hand.

      Otherwise they might as well hang onto him and see how things unfold next season with – hopefully – a regular training camp/season.

      • George O

        As a Sens fan could you explain why they brought in Gudbranson while letting Borowieki walk? Wasn’t Borowieki’s contract half of what Gudbranson is getting?

      • Nope, I can’t. In that regard I was sure Borowiecki would re-up here. Clearly, Dorion didn’t think he was worth the $2 mil per he got from Poile. I’d love to know what he offered or, even if there was an offer at all.

        In have no idea where he’s playing there in terms of pairings, but 5/6 is his niche.

        As for team fortunes, right now Nashville is 4 ahead of Ottawa with most of the Senators’ woes coming in the first 12-15 games.

    • take him , overrated , get the 5 million cap hit back

  6. Sunday morning thoughts.
    Demko, Lankinen, Vanecek, Kahkonen, Driedger, Nedeljkovic. Too name a few. All these teams finding goaltending. Leafs? They bring back Hutchinson? Seriously, there’s no one out there? Now that Campbell has 2 shutouts, I’d be all in with Campbell. Andersen’s $5 million could be sent to a team with cap space along with a pick. $5 million to spend on a back up goalie, forward or defenceman. Throw in some picks and have the team retain some salary. A point shot for the power play would help opening things up for the skilled guys. And/or another forward that throws the body around.

    • Shoreorrpark
      I am in total disagreement with U, on Friedman …
      I turn the channel , when he is on…
      U R probably a Ron Maclean fan, as well , whim there Cherry under the bus , Bobby Orr supported my remarks
      There is TSN, Sportsnet , whatever 1 -Friedman and Weekes is on – BORING … TV goes on mute mode

      • I see.

      • I don’t understand Leafs management. They had a handful of games these two weeks, and didn’t make a trade. Must be difficult dealing with the other teams I guess?

      • Ha ha hardy har har Friedman doesn’t even come close to Pierre McQuire I turn the sound down as soon as he comes on if anyone is more irritating I have yet to see or hear it!

      • RickWMurray:

        Pierre Macguire-Crosby ball washer, cant stand to hear him.

      • Ken, not sure how you can criticize his work when you always change the channel or hit the mute button? If you never listen to him actually say anything how do you know what he says?
        I think Friedman is good at his job.

    • “Andersen’s $5 million could be sent to a team with cap space along with a pick. ”

      Just like that eh? What team, with cap space, is going to waste it on a goalie who is being moved because – according to many, you included, – he can’t win the big games? Also, any pick accompanying him would be a low one in any given round in light of the fact the Leafs will finish somewhere in the top 10 overall.

      Anyway, if anyone really thought Andersen might prove useful down the line they’d just wait until UFA season and see what he and his agent still think he might be worth.

      Ottawa, with lots of cap space, could be a team to take him now in a deal IF he was accompanied by Hyman or Holl. Forget the pick. Then they’d just let him walk as a UFA.

      • This is how it works. Just for fun let’s pick New Jersey. $38 million in cap space. They take Andersen and his $5 million cap hit, in which they pay a percentage of cause the season is 2/3 over. Along with that they could get a 2nd round pick and maybe a prospect. Which doesn’t matter here. That’s for GMs to figure out. So to recap, New Jersey ( just our guinea pig team) would get a draft pick and possible prospect for a guy that is unrestricted and a little cash. It’s a win/ win.

      • For what in return – hypothetically?

    • Strong Valid Point

      • In return.
        This is to clear some cap room. They then could be in the running for a Ekholm or a Rakell or whoever.

  7. ACCOMPANIED BY Hyman or Hall
    NOT going to HAPPEN

    • Obviously not. Neither is getting anyone to take Andersen.

      • Not so fast George O…somebody took Marleau and his $6.5M cap hit.

        DET might be a team to call? They’ve got cap space. Don’t forget that Andersen’s actually salary is only $1M. Andersen and a 2nd for Greiss?

        How about this scenario? Andersen, Kerfoot, Dermott, 1st to NSH for Rinne, Ekholm, Granlund.

        Rinne is a UFA at the end of the year. He could resign in NSH. NSH let’s Andersen walk as a UFA and they get two serviceable players in Dermott and Kerfoot and a 1st round pick.

        Nothing is impossible. Improbable yes…

      • But Daryl, most in here – including some rabid Leafs fans – have branded Andersen as a clutch flop, Dermott as next to useless, and Kerfoot a journeyman F. Why would Nashville take that package on for Granlund and Ekholm? Surely there are better offers that would come forward.

        As I say, why wouldn’t anyone even remotely curious about Andersen wait until UFA season and see what he and his agent want. Clearly, the Leafs aren’t bringing him back and I doubt very much anyone will pay anything close to what he’s getting now – in terms of the cap hit.

  8. Stefano
    Columbus is back in the mix, pulled ahead of Chicago..
    I think Toronto had something lined up with Columbus, U never count Torts out…
    Say what U like about him, H e does the best with what he has to work with..,
    I would love to send Tavares and Nylander over to him, rude awakening for players of their nature !!!!

    • George O

      Taking on Andersen and his cap hit is to gain an asset not to gain a starting goalie.

      The Leafs may very well allow him to walk at the end of this year.

      In my suggestion about NSH they’re nowhere close to the playoffs. Kerfoot’s is a serviceable player. A star, no but he would easily make 3C in NSH. Dermott is an affordable 6th D-man. Under $1M salary.

      Would NSH do Granlund for Kerfoot? Granlund (UFA) is a better player but Kerfoot is signed for two more years after this one.
      Would NSH do Ekholm for Dermott and a 1st?
      Rinne for Andersen saves them cash and gives Rinne a shot at playoff success.

      It’s those kind of option the Leafs need to look into. When a team loses confidence in their goalie they aren’t going anywhere. It’s why the Leafs got Cujo when they had Potvin…

      • Not much of an asset if he walks as a UFA.

  9. George…a team out of the play offs…..who is tight for money and has cap space and financial issues…..could take Anderson not play him or play him and lose….and bank the difference in salary….

    Vancouver once they accept they are out of the play offs could trade Holtby for Anderson….saving cap space next year…

    I think there are teams who would trade for Anderson ….not for his goaltending but because of for finance reasons

    I have not seen your number one goalie play….but if Ottawa decides they have a bad contract they could trade for Anderson….save 2 million a year in cash and be out of the contract they may not want before the season….Ulmark from Buffalo would save the ownership cash this …

    Many of these teams are what one would say in England….need the “readies” ie: they need cash now.

    • Old Blue Dog, the thought that Eugene Melnyk is a cheapskate – and the Senators are having financial issues, are myths perpetuated mostly by some in here (see below) and media types trying to appear as if they have “inside” knowledge.. Not according to Forbes who points out his worth as being over $1 BILLION

      As for being cheap, he didn’t bat an eye when Dorion tried to hang onto Karlsson and Duchene, offering them roughly the same amounts for which they ultimately signed elsewhere, not to mention Stone. They left for other reasons – and there were fans who, losing their pedestal heroes, vowed never to return to the rink again. With the exception of Stone – who wanted to go to an immediate contender – can’t blame him for that – I wonder what those “fans” are thinking now as they seethe production and play of Karlsson and Duchene today.

      Chabot’s not complaining about the $8 mil he’s getting nor has White had anything bad to say about his over-inflated contract, never mind Melnyk. And you can bet Brady Tkachuk, Batherson, Norris and other such coming down the pipe, will be signed.

      But, hey, I’m not about to beat a dead horse on that issue. For a multitude of reasons he is a lightning rod for negative comments – I challenge anyone to point to ONE instance where a player left because he refused to pony up – and I don’t mean some media type like Ken Warren who’s been pissed off ever since he was told he could no longer fly on the team charters and so loves to dredge up the old charges against him, and that twit Brennan.

      Would I like to see him sell the team to someone committed to keeping the team here? Yes, simply to get away from false Crap like we see below from Cucumber Kid. But then, his type would simply invent something else. C’est la vie.

      • The issue with Melnyk is not money as you alluded to re: the Billion Dollar man ! It’s an issue of class. He who has none ( Stealing from his own Charity ) players have no faith in him. I hope for Ottawa’s sake the team is sold to Cirque du Soleil, which will happen the day after Melnyk gets his Seattle expansion money ($60M). New arena on the LeBreton Flats.

      • I’m with you there YarmouthClipper. Le Cirque du Soleil would be THE perfect ownership in so many respects.

  10. 1) Hyman or Holl..No thanks. 2) I like how you act like Melnyk isn’t going to demand that pretty much all of Ottawa’s high end prospects be traded as soon as they ask for a little money.

  11. Jets seriously need to add some muscle. Cement head like Kasian takes a shot at Ehlers and nothing happens. Meanwhile, McDavid waltzes around. Man we miss Buff. Who is out there? Wish we had a Ryan Reaves on our fourth line.

    • 6 Pak Zack is trash. From Buffalo to Vancouver to Edmonton.


  12. I agree Tripper. The NHL needs to do evaluations on it’s referees. Some don’t call dangerous blind side hits, charging, boarding, slew footing where a player can be seriously hurt while others persist in calling iffy piddly little calls at critical moments that often decide a game. I admit I like smash mouth hockey as much as anyone, but I do hate refs refusing to make a call when it is a flagrant dangerous foul and the ref is looking right at it.

  13. The many teams scrambling for position and having so little time to get there, many with trade possibilities limited by divisional setup and geography, presents teams prioritizing their next season’s roster with an exceptional opportunity to trade for relative heists.

    It takes only one GM pressured into effusive maneuvering to compel others who think his trade has altered the balance of power to to make a counter trade.

    There may be more trades than many expect, but even If there aren’t, the results of those that do occur could be more memorable than usual.

    • Good point

  14. Daryl
    Missed your post
    There is actually a lot of hype , the trade with Nashville actually happening , with the 3 players u mentioned , coming our way ..
    What Leafs part with , TBD ..
    Reilly has been mentioned., fine with me ..
    If accomplished , Leafs WIN the CUP

  15. 76%of people who died in USA of Covid were obese 21 million die every year from junk food Cigarettes and Alcohol Government does zero just the facts. Is Freddie still Leafs starter?

    • Obe, thank god he still is. As for facts why bother? So many live in a reality alternative world. Where they know more than experts and that fact they think it, it must be true.

      • That is so very true, Ron – see the above exchange re Melnyk. And some of us – me included – get drawn in to the back-and-forth arguments that ensue. I keep telling myself – say nothing … but unfortunately that’s just not in my nature.

    • Campbell has taken over the net..
      Just hope his “wonky” knee holds up ..
      Anderson, hopefully , is in our rear view mirror