NHL Rumor Mill – April 17, 2021

by | Apr 17, 2021 | Rumors | 32 comments

In today’s NHL rumor mill: the Jack Eichel trade speculation resurfaces, questions about Sam Reinhart’s future in Buffalo, and wondering whether the Predators will expose Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen in this summer’s expansion draft.


WGR 550: Appearing on “The Instigators”, TSN hockey insider Darren Dreger speculated Jack Eichel might not be playing with the Buffalo Sabres next season. He’s heard the Los Angeles Kings have an interest in Eichel and thinks the 24-year-old could be a good fit there. However, he also believes the Sabres will hang onto their captain if they don’t get the return they want.

THE ATHLETIC: John Vogl recently noted Sam Reinhart’s stock was high before the trade deadline. He claimed there’s interest in the 25-year-old Sabres winger. Reinhart is a restricted free agent with arbitration rights this summer coming off a one-year, $5.2 million contract and is also a year away from unrestricted free agent eligibility.

Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel (NHL Images).

Vogl envisioned several possible scenarios for Reinhart, such as the Sabres trading him during the 2021 NHL Draft, re-signing him for a year to see if the club improves and shopping him as a rental next season if they don’t, or signing him to a long-term contract.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: This is going to be a decisive summer for the Sabres, one that finally puts them on the right track toward building a playoff contender or keeps them mired in an already decade-long streak of mediocrity. It’ll come down to whatever decisions general manager Kevyn Adams makes with Eichel and Reinhart.

Eichel lacks no-trade protection this summer, giving Adams the flexibility to trade him to any NHL club. He’s also under contract for the next five seasons with a whopping $10 million annual average salary.

A lot of teams will be interested in Eichel but few can afford the cost in dollars and tradeable assets (first-round draft picks, top prospects, promising young players) to pry him away from the Sabres. The Kings could be one of those few if GM Rob Blake hopes to accelerate his club’s rebuilding program.

Reinhart would be a much more affordable asset if Adams puts him on the trade block but the Sabres GM could seek at least a first-round pick and a top prospect or promising young player in return. An acquiring club must also negotiate a new contract for him if the Sabres haven’t re-signed him first.


THE ATHLETIC: Adam Vingan and Ryan S. Clark recently wondered if the Nashville Predators might leave forwards Matt Duchene and Ryan Johansen unprotected in this summer’s expansion draft. Both carry $8 million annual salary-cap hits but struggled to live up to contract expectations. The Seattle Kraken would need to be incentivized to take one of them. Others clubs will also attempt to expose high-salaries players in the hope the Kraken will take them.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Vingan and Clark point out Kraken GM Ron Francis will have leverage in this situation. They suggest the Predators would have to add a sweetener like a draft pick and/or a prospect and possibly some salary retention to make Duchene or Johansen palatable to the Predators.


  1. Eichel is not going anywhere. No chance. Full stop.

    • Wendel, Eichel will be traded because he wants out and is tired of losing not because the Sabres want to trade him. There are however only a handful of teams with the assets to pry him away. L.A. is for sure one of them.

      • Right. Thats what I meant and should have qualified. Sabres won’t trade him unless eichel demands it. If he doesn’t he plays out his contract in Buffalo.

      • Eichel won’t demand a trade since he can’t control where he goes for another year. Buffalo probably won’t wait for nmc to kick in. IMO, he’ll be a NYR next season

      • Uhm…Pierre-Luc Dubois sounds familiar.

    • Wayne Gretzky.
      Los Angele can send more than one good return piece that they drafted in the top ten, and many pieces still in development, who are not paid ten million to not lead. I see the LA splash and also see a lot of desirable prospect there that could help a Buffalo turn over that clearly will not be a true Cup competitor before Eichel wants more $ to “lead” there.
      Actually after the tiny return on Hall, I wouldn’t be surprised by 31 GMs making the inquiry call.

  2. Leave Duchene unprotected. If the Kraken take him it would be a good thing for Nashville. Could add a mid level pick as an incentive. Think of it as a Salary dump. Johansen I would protect. You gave up S,Jones for him.

    Seattle is going to create cap room league wide which will help some GM’s with some wiggle room

    • Seattle will not take Duschene for just a mid round pick. I never understood peoples thinking when they come up with this stuff. Duchesne has negative value why would Seattle just randomly take and 8 million dollar per year contract for only a mid round pick. Nashville should be willing to pay up to get rid of that contract. If they don’t nobody and I mean nobody is taking that contract off there hands.

      • … and meanwhile, Ottawa Senators fans let out a loooong collective WHEW every time they remember that Duchesne turned down an $8 mil offer from Dorion!

      • What if the Kraken, after examining the pool of talent available to them in the expansion draft, determine that Duchene is the best option for their meeting the draft requirement of the aggregate salary cap hit of their selections being between 60 and 100 percent of the 2020-21 upper limit of the cap? Or what if the Kraken foresaw an opportunity to profit by selecting him and later trading him while retaining 50% of his salary?

      • Francis there will be multiple teams looking to dump contracts. Seattle will have no issues meeting the cap floor without Duschene. Seattle will also get better than mid round pics for them. Teams at this trade deadline were getting 4th rounders to eat up only a little salary and only for a year. Remember most of the salary was already paid out this year so a 4 million dollar player at 50% retained was not 2 million in actual salary. No team would even take Duschene at 4 million. It’s not happening. Salary cap space on this current environment has become a huge asset. Why waste it on a never was and never will be player with a long term expensive contract. It’s a good thing you don’t run a team if you would take that player with that contract for only a mid round pick.

      • Roger–Duchene’s cap hit is $8 million/yr. He has 3 goals and 8 points in 23 games, and is minus 11 for the season. He can play center or wing.

        Taylor Hall’s hit is $8 million/yr. He has 2 goals and 19 points in 37 games, and is minus-21 for the season. He plays wing.

        Judging by these numbers alone, a decision of which player is least deserving of a roster spot would be a coin toss, although a center is more valuable than a wing. However, the Bruins just gave up a second-round selection for rental player Hall.

        If the Sabres received a No.2 for renting Hall, it’s only reasonable to expect that the Kraken would receive at least that much if they traded Duchene and retained 50% of his salary. Were the Kraken to be offered a No. 2 to select Duchene in the expansion draft, they would then be the recipient of 2 picks in return for a $4 million cap hit. Since they will begin with 100% cap availability, that amount would be negligible.

        However, if they couldn’t trade Duchene, they would be “stuck” with a No.2 pick and a rehab project who scored 58 points in 50 games only 2 years ago, at a cost they can easily afford, As investing for the future goes, that’s not a bad gamble.

      • Francis, Taylor Hall will be a UFA. Duschene has not even come close to having the career Hall has had regardless of what they’ve done in very few games this year. Nobody is taking Duschene without a top prospect and first round pick being added. It cost Toronto a first to rid themselves of Marleau for less money and only 1 year remaining on his contract. That was when the cap was trending upwards. With a flat cap Nashville is stuck with a very mediocre player at a very high cap hit.

      • Sorry Francis. You are barking up the wrong tree. Hall and duschene arnt comparibles at all. There might be a match but it will cost nash a good asset to do.

      • Chrisms– In essence, the question is: Would some team give the Predators a mid second-round draft choice for Duchene if the Predators were to retain half of his salary? If you answer yes, then it would be wise for the Kraken to accept a No.2 from the Predators to draft him and then to later trade him for another No. 2 while retaining half his salary if they didn’t want to keep him.

    • That is a foolhardy statement to keep someone because of who you gave up for him in the case of Johansen and Jones.

      That is the type of compounding of errors that gets GMs fired.

    • What’s the difference who was traded for Johansen? It doesn’t matter if they traded Conner McDavid for Johansen, that’s the past and has nothing to do with making a decision on him in the future.

  3. Too bad Nashville can’t leave David Poile unprotected …

    The team that trades for Eichel will regret it … and until the Sabres find a #1 goalie whatever they do will be pointless …

  4. If I’m Buffalo and Jack wants out I call Columbus they have 3 firsts two young goalies that can play and who knows who else they would add. Buffalo,s biggest issue may be Skinner and what to do with that contract.

    • Yes Obe, Skinner was a bad sign from day 1

  5. Let me say this; the most over used and incorrect statement of all NHL time.

    “If Wayne Gretzky can be traded anyone can.”

    Sidney Crosby can’t be traded

    Patrice Bergeron can’t be traded

    Ovie can’t be traded

    Just because Gretzky who was traded by an owner looking to save money, doesn’t mean other owners act in the same way.

    • Most over used? Nah, I’m going to go with “change of scenery “. That is by far the most abused statement.

      All three player can be traded you mentioned. It’s not over yet.

  6. Ken/AKA – Albert Einstein
    I love all of you -Taylor Hall non believers !!!
    I made a comment on here ages ago !!!
    Taylor Hall is the “Jolt” Boston needed !!!
    Plus they stood him !!!
    I really hope the Bruins contend for the Cup …
    He is an ideal “FiT” for Boston !!
    I see Lazar had a goal
    Absolute Theft / they Deal !!

    • Wait to base your opinion on 3 or 4 games Ken. Let’s not use his entire body of work especially the last 2 years. Hall is exactly what he is. At best an almost point per game player with a poor work ethic who only cares about himself not the team. When Boston loses a couple in a row I’m sure you’ll be on the fire Sweeny bandwagon again.

      • Hi Roger
        I was never on the fire bandwagon ..
        I just thought Sweeney might be asleep ..,

        I like Taylor Hall , Marchand will keep him razor sharp!!

        Dubais is another story – as per the Fire- Bandwagon !
        The Leafs are gong to have a hard time getting out of their division , let alone contend for the cup …
        Than let’s see what happens , his days are hopefully numbered
        Away too mistakes, with this guy !

  7. I nominate Pengy to replace Dubas.

  8. Boston Bruin leadership will not allow for lazy hockey ,Hall was flying and blocking shots he looked like he did years ago. Boston has a tight group have for years they weed out selfish play and work ethic that’s why Seguin is gone very selfish was more interested in being cool and partying than winning. I know he was young but the comment made by the top brass was a leopard doesn’t lose its spots.

    • Sob obe what you’re saying is that Marchand couldn’t change a young player in Seguin but he’s going to change an older player in Hall. Makes sense to me.

  9. Presentation – Bettman

    And the 2021 Conn Smythe trophy winner goes to …..

    Taylor Hall of the Boston Bruins

  10. does anyone hate the power play entry that requires a backward pass to an oncoming player out of his own end ? it seems like the defensive team lines up on or near their blue line while the offensive players must stand still at the same blue line waiting for their puck carrier. congestion seems to be the result with corresponding set up problems.does anyone know why most teams have adopted this method ?

    • CC, it is to get the other team to stand still. They time the first guy and are backing up with gap control, slightly bigger gap due to being shorthanded and no back pressure.
      Giving it to the back guy makes them stop so are “flat footed” when the 2nd guy comes on them with speed.
      If they try to ignore the first guy, and move to 2nd, they have one less guy to defend the zone entry and leaves more space.
      Watch McDavid tonight on the PP. if he is the 2nd guy. Although having him really negates the need to the the 2nd guy.

  11. Hi Roger
    Taylor is not Tyler !!!
    2 different personalities !!!
    Taylor has found his niche , and has brought this forward , within his couple of after game interviews !!

    It’s GAME ON with Taylor !!!
    Now reborn in Beantown !!!!!