Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup – March 28, 2021

by | Mar 28, 2021 | Rumors | 31 comments

The latest on Taylor Hall, Tanner Pearson and Travis Hamonic plus updates on the Leafs, Canadiens and Capitals in the Sunday NHL Rumor Roundup.

SPORTSNET (via KUKLA’S KORNER): Elliotte Friedman believes there’s a lot of teams checking in with the Buffalo Sabres regarding Taylor Hall. He wonders if the St. Louis Blues might be a fit if they can find suitable salary-cap space. The Blues are having trouble scoring of late.

Could the St. Louis Blues afford to acquire Buffalo Sabres winger Taylor Hall? (NHL Images)

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Cap Friendly indicates the Blues have over $5.4 million in LTIR salary available. However, they’ll lose that buffer when Colton Parayko and Ivan Barbashev come off LTIR later in the season. It’ll have to be a dollar-for-dollar swap for Hall. Even then, the Sabres will probably have to pick up half of his $8 million cap hit.

Friedman also reports Toronto Maple Leafs coach Sheldon Keefe said sideline goaltender Frederik Andersen is undergoing some different evaluations. He said the Leafs don’t feel Andersen’s season is in jeopardy and they’re not actively looking for a goalie. They don’t have much salary-cap room and don’t want to add a netminder unless they absolutely have to.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: In other words, unless Andersen’s season is over so they can put him on LTIR they cannot afford to pursue a goaltender.


TSN: Montreal Canadiens general manager Marc Bergevin said he’s not trying to free up salary-cap space to make more moves before the April 12 trade deadline. However, he didn’t rule it out. “Anything’s possible,” said Bergevin.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Sportsnet’s Eric Engels believes Bergevin isn’t done dealing because of his depth in draft picks and a prospect pool that won’t suffer much damage if one or two were used as trade bait. He also believes the Habs GM could move a marginal player to free up cap space.

The Canadiens are in a good position to make another trade akin to their Friday acquisition of Eric Staal. The question, however, is whether Staal and whoever else Bergevin might bring in will ensure a playoff berth and a chance at a deep postseason run.


SPORTSNET: Chris Johnston reports contract talks haven’t taken place yet between Vancouver Canucks management and Tanner Pearson. The 28-year-old winger is a pending unrestricted free agent. He’s sidelined with a lower-body injury but could return to action before the trade deadline. Johnston believes he could become a trade candidate if the two sides don’t get a deal done before the deadline.

Speaking of the Canucks, Friedman believes the Carolina Hurricanes had an interest in Travis Hamonic. Like Pearson, the 30-year-old Hamonic is eligible for UFA status this summer. The Hurricanes are interested in acquiring a right-hand shot defenseman. However, Hamonic prefers to remain in Western Canada and isn’t waiving his no-trade clause.

THE PROVINCE: Patrick Johnston included Pearson among his five potential Canucks trade candidates. The others include winger Jake Virtanen, defenseman Alex Edler, center Brandon Sutter and blueliner Jordie Benn.

Sutter is already of interest to the Edmonton Oilers. Edler could draw some interest if he can be convinced to waive his no-movement clause.

Johnston believes the Canucks should attempt to stockpile draft picks with their tradeable assets to put toward future acquisitions. He recommends targeting teams in the offseason who risk losing players in the expansion draft, suggesting a defenseman like Devon Toews could be left exposed by the Colorado Avalanche. The Carolina Hurricanes could be another option given their depth in blueliners.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Canucks should be sellers by the deadline and look at coming back stronger next season. Peddle as many of those pending UFAs as possible and see if you can find a taker for Virtanen and the final year of his contract (with that $3.4 million in actual salary).

As Johnston suggests, follow the Canadiens example and stockpile draft picks that can be used in the offseason to pry away quality players (preferably defensemen) from cap-strapped clubs or teams that risk losing a good player in the expansion draft.

Edler might not be interested in waiving his no-movement clause. If Hamonic’s not waiving his no-trade that means he’s not heading to the Winnipeg Jets as some have suggested. Then again, maybe the Jets haven’t expressed an interest in the Manitoba native.


THE ATHLETIC: Tarik El-Bashir suggested Detroit’s Jonathan Bernier and San Jose’s Devan Dubnyk among his shortlist of potential goaltending trade targets for the Washington Capitals. Calgary’s David Rittich and Nashville’s Pekka Rinne are the other two, though he considers it unlikely Rinne will waive his no-movement clause to leave the Predators.

El-Bashir acknowledged the Capitals’ limited salary-cap space would make pursuing a rental goalie difficult for general manager Brian MacLellan. Further complicating things is the recent improvement of young goalies Ilya Samsonov and Vitek Vanecek.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: NBC Sports Washington’s J.J. Bean suggests Samsonov’s recent play is taking some pressure off MacLellan to bring in an experienced rental goaltender. Given their salary-cap situation, the Capitals GM could be content to stand pat by the deadline.


  1. Dunno, just a bunch of things:

    “…Blues will pursue Hall,” b/c the have trouble scoring…so has he!

    Target Colorado and Devin Toews, since “a defenseman like Devon Toews could be left exposed by the Colorado Avalanche.”

    Put me down for the wild acquiring Dylan Strome for a draft pick while we are tailoring reality to suit the home teams.

    Methinks that is Toews who plays with Makar, has been asked to play with Girard, and also was asked to steady Byram Bowen, is not viewed a hot hot potato that they need to toss before the playoffs.

    Furthermore, in my blinders, having attractive player FOR the Kraken to choose means short pre-draft telephone calls about bonus packages from teams like the Avs.

    • Bill…like you said , the Avs need to keep Toews. What Joe needs to do is convince Erik Johnson to waive his NMC for the expansion draft.
      I also like you call on the Hawks moving Strome. Minnesota needs help down the middle.

    • He is talking about making a trade for Toews in the offseason but trading picks before the expansion draft. NOT before the deadline

  2. The Blues are having trouble scoring of late.

    Hall has trouble all season.

    • Don’t watch many Sabre games, but watched the entire BUF v BOS game yesterday. Hall was a non factor.

  3. As I mentioned in morning coffee section, I feel like the Lemieux trade was a small salary dump that puts Rangers in position to make another small trade. Virtanen is a young player I’d like to see them take a chance on as a reclamation project. Howden is a western Canada kid that has hit his ceiling in NY. Perhaps him and the 4th they got for Lemieux? Gaudette is another kid they could have interest in, having played for Quinn at BU
    On a side note, what’s latest on Kucherov and Tampa? Is league really going to let him skate with team and remain on ltir for nearly 2 months?

    • Gaudette played at Northeastern,not B.U.For Madigan,not Quinn.

      • Sorry. You’re right. Going on memory. Quinn should be familiar with him though.

    • Slick62 Lemieux after being traded to Winnipeg is now on his 3rd team in 4 years.

      It’s like teams want him for his style of play but the personality rubs off quickly.

    • Slick, I have a feeling Virtanen will become a ufa once his current contract is completed. The qualifying offer of 3.4 million would be higher than teams would be willing to pay him.

  4. According to Eklund this is almost an E-4 bruins pulling into a deal with nj Palmeri and Vatinen for Debrusk and draft pick. Okay back to reality Eklund’s trade rumours usually have 99.9 % rate of failure. After seeing last nights game it’s obvious they another scorer don’t count on Kase he couldn’t put a puck in the Atlantic Ocean!

  5. Gaudette ,played at Northeastern, not B.U.

  6. Colorado D exposure makes for interesting alternatives to the Ekholm stakes.

    Erik Johnson has a NMC, so needs to be protected.

    Makar is the clear second.

    Who will be the third D protected and who will be the 2 D exposed?

    Sam Girard $5 million
    Devon Toews $4.1 million
    Ryan Graves $3.16 million

    They become a target for a combination of salary dump and draft picks to be taken advantage of.

    • @habsfan
      Avs might do something creative so EJ is not one of the protected 3. Even if they lose Sam Girard or Ryan Graves they be fine. Toews has to be protected

      • prediction ….EJ will waive his NMC for the expansion draft and then Colorado will announce that he is expected to be on LTIR for months due to an upper body ( post concussion ) injury .

        Kraken will end up with Graves or make a deal to take Timmins and get another player/prospect thrown in to stay away from Graves.

      • Girard is a stud 22 yr old on a team friendly long term deal. He’s not going to be exposed.
        EJ either waives or is bought out, period
        Graves, Donskoi or Compher will be the likely targets on that roster. Francouz if they want a goalie. Unless he’s still dead this spring

    • I agree with this assessment. You protect Makar, Toews and Girard. If they lose Graves that sucks, but you don’t trade Timmins to protect Graves, especially if it costs you another asset. You don’t have to protect Timmins Or Byrum, as they were not full NHL players before the rookie cutoff. Makar only needs protected due to playing in the 18′ -19′ playoffs. Makar, Girard, Toews, Byrum and Timmins is a quality defence, and with the UFAs up front that probably won’t be signed until after expansion the Avs will not lose anyone seriously handcuffing their contender status for the next 4 – 5 years. No need to panic trade to benefit another team.

  7. The Leafs can’t afford NOT to trade for a different goalie.

    MTL just traded for another marginal player in Staal, aside from Gallagher, their entire roster is marginal.

  8. Taylor Halls has 29 goals in his last 132 games played and is a -40 over that time.

    If someone offers Buffalo a 1st round pick, they should take it and run.

    Curious what is Hall next contract $5m ?

    He isnt worth that, but, “he just needs a change of scenery. “

    • He did nothing of note vs B’s Caper, didn’t even look fast in the couple of instances where he had a chance to win a race for a puck? Not sure if he is hurt, lost a step, or just doesn’t care.

      Doesn’t really matter IMO, he isn’t worth much right now.

      No idea what he gets as a UFA, but he may want to take another 1 year deal to improve his value.

      Anyone care to bet that Barrie gets more than Hall? Who wouldda thunk it?

  9. Barrie – Who would of thunk it alright ….Who has the answer to that one …

    • Ken – Darnell Nurse is his D partner.
      Bear benefited last year it seems as well.
      With Klefbom hurt and out for season Barrie got added to last years best PP which was historically good. And good again this year.

      Last night the guys doing the game said that he took less term to sign the deal in Edmonton. He actually targeted them as a great opportunity to have a bounce back year.

      Good call.

      What I don’t understand is why he struggled in Toronto.

      • Some thrive on the constant and intense scrutiny that is the Toronto media … others tighten up. That was Barrie to a “T”

  10. Toews isn’t going anywhere . A great
    “ under the radar” signing. You could buyout Johnson. Protect 4 in the seven. Offer Kracken picks and other prospects like Timmins. Does Mckar even qualify to be protected ? He is in his second year a 98 born and entry level contract

    • Makar needs to be protected, he played 10 playoff games in his first season.

      Erik Johnson won’t be bought out, it will cost an extra 2 million a year for a few years when they’ll need cap money and he’s an extremely popular player.

      They could press him to waive his NMC and make him available.

      They will then need to choose 2 to protect :

      Erik Johnson $6 million

      Sam Girard $5 million

      Devon Toews $4.1million

      Ryan Graves $3.1 million

      Doubtful that Seattle will take Johnson, the oldest most expensive player who will have waived his NMC for nothing and created a stit for nothing.

      One of the other 3 has an excellent probability of being lost to the draft.

      Nothing is certain of course but it’s a vulnerability that GM’s like Bergevin looking for a LD might exploit.

  11. I think Barrie struggled with Babcock, coming out of the gate, couldn’t find his game not sure afterwards..
    I am not quite sure…
    He sure looks good now

  12. Does anybody have any input to Conor Garland
    I was unaware of him, but supposedly available, for the right deal

    • He’s not a goalie, Ken.

    • Hi Ken

      I truly believe this kid is a very good add to any team

      The only knock I’ve seen in print anywhere on him, is size…. 5’10” , 168

      But he plays much bigger; is fast as a whip; has great hands; plays just as hard when skating towards his goalie; as he does skating towards the opposing goalie

      A rightie that can play both wings

      Only $775 K… RFA, 9-17-26 in 34 GP… and those numbers done on a weaker team

      • Thanks Pengy
        I wonder why this Conor Garland has flown under the radar ..
        Seems like a no brainer , talent , plays with a edge , with a low cap hit …
        All the hype on Granlund , Palmieri, Hall , Foligno etc , I would rather have this kid personally !!

  13. I can see the Avs going to 8 skater route in the expansion draft. Conspiracy and fantasy land situations aside, they are going to have to protect EJ, so if they go the 7 + 3 route they are going to protect Girard, EJ, and Makar, leaving Toews Graves exposed.